Obtaining vital records and other legal documents

General Information

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul keeps no files of the different documents we issue, such as a Consular Report of Birth, or documents dealing with the death of an American in Korea.  These records are instead filed in Washington, DC. We also do not keep any files of Korean civil documents, such as records of marriages and divorces in Korea.  These records are held by the Korean government. Other records, such as birth certificates for people born in the United States, are stored in the state of origin.

This page is designed to help you locate the vital record documents you need.  The Embassy cannot obtain documents on your behalf, and cannot provide translations of documents issued in Korean.

Documents that Must Be Ordered from the Department of State in Washington

Consular Report of Birth Abroad
A consular report of birth aboard is a document issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate reflecting the facts of a birth abroad of a child acquiring U.S. citizenship at birth through one or both parents.  This record, also known as an FS-240, along with the Certification of Birth, DS-1350, are acceptable as proof of birth and U.S. citizenship for all legal purposes.

Please go to the State Department’s web page on consular records for complete details on obtaining a copy of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

Report of the Death of an American Citizen
A report of death is a document issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate reflecting the facts of a death abroad of an American citizen.  The document is based upon the local death certificate.

Please go to the State Department’s web page on consular records for complete details on obtaining a copy of a Report of Death of an American Citizen.

Certificate of Witness to Marriage
A document issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate reflecting the facts of a marriage abroad in which at least one party is an American Citizen.  A consular officer must have attended the ceremony.  This service was discontinued in 1987.  Please refer to the State Department website on how to obtain marriage certificates filed prior to November 9, 1989.
http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/abroad/events-and-records/marriage/certificate-copy.html

Documents that Must Be Obtained from a U.S. State

Vital Records such as birth, death, divorce decrees or marriage certificates are usually held by state, county or city governments, depending on location.

To obtain these vital records in the United States, please check the following website for more information.

Documents that Must Be Obtained from the Korean Government

Many people have the misconception that they were married at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.  Our office may assist with paper work necessary for U.S. citizens to marry in Korea, and, in the past, authenticated marriage certificates issued by various Korean ward offices and/or Seoul City Hall.  However, Embassies do not perform marriages and our office does not maintain marriage records.

If your marriage was registered before January 31, 1995:  a copy of a Korean marriage certificate may be obtained by writing to the Citizens Section, Seoul City Hall.  Please check with Seoul City Hall for the most up-to-date information before you send your request.  (Note:  You may be asked to send a copy of your ID, a return addressed envelope, and 30 dollars cash per document.)

International Marriage/ Citizen Affairs Section, Seoul City Hall
110 Sejongdae-ro, Jung-gu
Seoul Korea 04524
Tel: 011-82-2-2133-7903 (from U.S.)
http://english.seoul.go.kr/?SSid=101_01

If your marriage was registered after February of 1995;  you should have had a Report and Certificate of Marriage document. A certified copy of your Report and Certificate of Marriage may be obtained by writing to the specific ward office in which your marriage registration took place.  The ward office nearest the U.S. Embassy in Seoul is the Jongro-gu Ward Office and the majority of U.S. citizens in Korea registered their marriages there.  Please check with the appropriate ward office for the most up-to-date information before you send your request.  (Note:  You may be asked to send a copy of your ID, 5,000 Korean won per document, and additional money for return postage.)

Citizen Affairs Section, Jongro-gu Ward office
43 Sambong-ro, Jongro-gu
Seoul Korea 03153
Tel:  011-82-2-2148-1934 (from U.S.)
http://www.jongno.go.kr/englishMain.do

Since 2011:  the local district offices began providing a Certificate of Marriage Registration (수리증명서, pronounced soo-ree jeung-myung-suh) which serves as the official Korean marriage document.  A copy of this document can be obtained by writing to the specific ward office in which your marriage registration took placePlease check with the appropriate ward office for the most up-to-date information before you send your request.  (Note:  You may be asked to send a copy of your ID, 200 won per document, and additional money for return postage fee.)

If one spouse is a Korean citizen:  the marriage is reflected on the Korean marriage certificate (혼인관계증명서, pronounced hone-in-gwan-gae jeung-myung-suh).  Marriage records are kept as part of family registry information and may be obtain through local ward offices.

Should you have difficulty reaching an English speaker at the appropriate ward office and/or Seoul City Hall, you may wish to contact the Seoul Global Center (SGC) for assistance: by phone at (02) 2075-4130, or by email at hotline@seoul.go.kr.  SGC is a comprehensive support center for foreigners operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and offers assistance in English and other foreign languages.