The number of Korean adoptees who are not naturalized as citizens of their adoptive parent’s country is estimated at 26,000, government data showed Tuesday.
According to the Health Ministry data released by Rep. Ki Dong-min of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, 25,996 Korean adoptees do not hold citizenship from their adoptive parent’s countries as of August 2017. 18,603 of them have been brought into the US as adoptees and the remaining 7,393 to other countries.
The figure is based on a survey of 165,305 Korean-born children who were adopted overseas before the revision of the Special Adoption Act in August 2012.
Before the revision, adoptees were brought into the US under legal guardianship with an IR-4 visa. Under IR-4, the adoption procedure is only finalized after the adoptive parents re-adopt their children in the US at which time citizenship is secured.
After the revised Special Adoption Act came into effect, Korean-born children were sent to the US on an IR-3 visa, which requires that the full and final adoption is completed at the adoptee’s country with the parent physically seeing the child prior to the adoption proceedings. Adoptees brought into the US on an IR-3 visa are automatically guaranteed US citizenship upon arrival.
Around 18,000 Korean adoptees who were sent to the US on an IR-4 visa are still not naturalized as US citizens, and some of them have been deported back to Korea.
In regards to the figure he released, Rep. Ki called for governmental measures to address the issue of Korean adoptees who are left without citizenship in foreign countries.
Korean-born babies on board a flight to US for adoption proceedings. (Holt International-Yonhap)