HOME UNHCR 소개 Info for Asylum-seekers & Refugees

[KOR][ENG][FRE] UNHCR in the Republic of Korea

1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol

The most internationally accepted definition of a refugee is set out in Article 1A of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which states that the term “refugee” shall apply to any person who:


[…] owing to [a] well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country.


The Republic of Korea has incorporated this definition into Korean domestic law via Article 2(1) of the Refugee Act.


The Republic of Korea became a State party to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Refugee Convention) in 1992. By becoming a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Republic of Korea agreed to uphold and protect the rights of refugees.


In Korea, the Korean Immigration Service has procedures in place for processing refugee applications. Therefore, UNHCR does not conduct RSD (Refugee Status Determination) in Korea, and all refugee applications are made through the local immigration office, not UNHCR.


In other words, it is the Korean government who receives refugee application and conducts RSD (Refugee Status Determination) process with full authority, and UNHCR has no authority to intervene in its procedure or/and the decision in Korea.

For more precise information on the Refugee Status Determination procedure, please kindly refer to the “Handbook on Refugee Status Determination Procedures in Korea” published by Ministry of Justice (http://www.moj.go.kr) or Korea Immigration Service (http://www.immigration.go.kr).


Refugee application forms (the “Application for Recognition of Refugee Status” form), are available in the local Immigration Offices and Immigration Branch Offices. Forms are also available on the Hi-Korea website (click “Application Forms” in ‘Quick’ box on the right corner of the screen).  They should be written in Korean or English.


Resettlement to a third country

There is no resettlement programme to a third country from the Republic of Korea. The Republic of Korea provides refugees and asylum seekers a legal status to stay, a refugee status determination procedure, and relevant social welfare to support livelihood. Resettlement countries therefore prioritise the limited places for extremely vulnerable refugees in countries where their basic rights as refugees are not recognised.

Resettlement places offered to UNHCR by various countries are extremely limited. For these limited places, UNHCR prioritises extremely vulnerable individuals who are in very dangerous or unstable situations in countries which do not provide such refugees with any legal status or assistance.

Asylum seekers and refugees in the Republic of Korea who wish to travel or migrate to a third country should follow the relevant procedures and requirements for visa application to that country.   

UNHCR does not provide any letter of referral or confirmation of refugee status to individuals in Korea. This can only be done by the Korean authorities. 


The role of UNHCR in the Republic of Korea

UNHCR provides a counseling service for asylum-seekers, humanitarian status holders and recognized refugees via phone, email and visit ONLY on Monday and Wednesday from 2pm to 5pm. (Counseling visit is only  available on Monday and Wednesday by prior appointment via phone or email)

UNHCR provides information on Refugee Status Determination procedures in Republic of Korea as well as organizations that may be able to assist individuals with the various issues associated with making a refugee application and with living in Korea. Refugee status determination in Korea is carried out by the Korea Immigration Service, so UNHCR in the Republic of Korea does not conduct refugee status determination. UNHCR does not facilitate resettlement out of Korea.

Contact details:

Counseling hours: Every Monday & Wednesday Afternoon (2pm - 5pm)

Counseling number: 02 - 773 - 7003        Fax: 02 - 773 - 7014

Toll-free Call: 1541 - 02 - 773 - 7003# / 1633 - 02 - 773 - 7003#

Counseling Email: info.korea@unhcr.org

Address: 7F Kumsegi Building, Mugyo-ro 6, Jung-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea




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