Whether you live in Korea now or lived in Korea before, there may come a time when you are living outside of Korea and you need a document from the Korean government or other Korean institutions. You may also need to prove the authenticity of that document with what is called an “Apostille” – which you also have to get from South Korea.
What can you do? Do you have to get on a plane and fly over to Korea to get those documents? Until now your options were pretty much either fly over yourself, beg a friend to run around to navigate the documentation/certification maze for you, or hire a lawyer to do it for you and pay exorbitant prices.
The short answer is that an Apostille is like an international notarization for a document. It proves that a document is authentic to the rest of the world.
The long, official answer is that shortly after WWII when air travel took off (pun intended) and emigration became more common, the world got together to establish some basic norms. A lot of that took place at the Hague, and so there were plenty of different Hague Conventions. One of those conventions was called the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, or the Apostille Convention for short. There they created a system for proving the authenticity of the documents from the signatory countries. That approval is called an Apostille.
How do I get my South Korean documents if I don’t have them?
If you also need the documents, they can procure those documents for you from government offices, schools, hospitals, etc. too. You will need to give them a copy of your passport and the necessary Power of Attorney (POV) and then they can visit the necessary locations to get them for you anywhere in the country. Visit their Document Services page to request your necessary documents.
Can I get a Korean Police Criminal Background Check from abroad?
Yup, criminal background checks from the Korean police department aren’t a problem either. These are the equivalent of an FBI Background Check in the United States. Just supply their secretary with your address while in Korea and a Limited Power of Attorney certified by your local Korean Consulate and they can pick that up for you too.