How to Legally Adopt a Korean Name After Obtaining Citizenship: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Legally Adopt a Korean Name After Obtaining Citizenship: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you a new Korean citizen looking to adopt a Korean name? This guide will walk you through the process, from choosing your name to legally changing it. Let's dive in!

Choosing Your Korean Name: More Than Just Picking Words

Selecting a Korean name isn't as simple as choosing words you like. Here's why:

  1. Korean names are derived from Chinese characters with deep meanings
  2. Names can influence various aspects of life in Korean culture
  3. Professional naming services are popular due to the complexity

Why Use a Korean Naming Service?

Many Koreans opt for professional naming services because:

  1. Names should be easy to pronounce
  2. They must follow the law of the five elements (based on birth date, time, and "destiny")
  3. Names should be meaningful and suit personal preferences
  4. Professional services ensure all these criteria are met

Finding a Naming Service

To locate a reputable naming service:

  • Search for "작명소" (naming service) on Google
  • Use Naver Maps to find offline services
  • Expect to pay up to 300,000 won per consultation

 The naming service will provide:

  • Your name in Chinese and Korean characters
  • The name's meaning
  • An assessment based on the five elements

Keep this document for the legal name change process.

Legal Name Change Process: Step-by-Step Guide

To officially change your name to a Korean name, you must go through a legal process at your local court (지방법원). Here’s what you need:

Required Documents:

  1. Resident Registration Certificate (주민등록등본): 2 copies
  2. Detailed Family Relations Certificate (가족관계증명서 (상제)): 2 copies
  3. Detailed Basic Certificate (기본증명서 (상제)): 2 copies
  4. Personal Seal (개인도장)

The reason for needing two copies of each document is because the surname declaration and name change are separate processes, requiring two applications and sets of documents.


  • Delivery Fee (송달료): 30,600 won (2020) x 2
  • Stamp Fee (인지료): 1,000 won (2020) x 2
  • Total: Approximately 64,000 won

Additional Documents for Marriage-based Citizenship:

  • Marriage Certificate (혼인증명서): 1 copy
  • Seal, Seal Certificate, and ID Card of Korean Spouse

Steps for Name Change:

  1. Choose Chinese Characters: When selecting a Korean name, write it in Chinese characters. The court staff will provide a table of corresponding Chinese characters for you to choose from and will paste the chosen characters onto the form.
  2. Surname and Declaration: The (place of origin) should be familiar to you. You can see a list of Chinese at the court.
  3. Fill Out Name Change Form: Only fill in your first name (이름) on the form. For example, if your name is 도장미, only fill in 장미.


  • Address for Document Delivery: Use an address where you will be available during working hours, as deliveries are typically made during this time.
  • Court Appointment: The court will notify you of the processing time, which can range from one to three months, depending on the area. Once your new name is approved, you will receive a text message notification.
  • Register New Name: Go to the 구청 or 군청 office to declare your new name, then proceed to the .. 주민센터 to apply for a new ID card.

By following this guide, you'll successfully navigate the process of adopting a Korean name after obtaining citizenship. Remember, a well-chosen Korean name can be an important part of your new identity in Korea!

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