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FAQ

  • Title
    Can a foreigner who lives abroad and does not have a foreign registration number purchase a resort condominium in Jeju Island and register in his or her name?
  • Content

    o Yes. A foreigner who does not have a place of sojourn in Korea (a foreigner without a foreign registration number) can make registration of ownership transfer once he or she receives registration number for real estate registration from the head of the Korea Immigration Service or the head of its regional offices that have jurisdiction over the location of the Supreme Court. 

     

    o For a foreigner without a place of sojourn in Korea to receive a foreign registration number 

    - For a first-time foreigner, he or she should submit the Application for Granting a Registry Number for Foreigner's Real Estate Registration, the Attached form 5 of the Real Estate Registration Act and the Granting Procedures for Registry Number for Real Estate Registration of an Association or a Foundation to the Seoul Immigration Office and Sejong-ro Branch (the Korea Immigration Service or its branch offices that have jurisdiction over the location of the Supreme Court). The issued registration number will be written in the registry the and the Certificate for Granting a Registry Number for Foreigner’s Real Estate Registration <Attached form 7> will be issued to the recipient. 

     

    o If a foreigner who has a registration number wishes to issue a certificate of registration, he can receive the Certificate for Granting a Registry Number for Foreigner’s Real Estate Registration <Attached form 7> when he submits the Application for Certificate of Granting a Registry Number for Foreigner’s Real Estate Registration <Attached form 9> to the head of the branch office. 

     

    o Attached documents for applying for the registration number of a non-resident (Individual foreign non-resident)

    - One copy of his or her passport or certificate of nationality

    - Declare by a substitute: Identification card of the substitute, power of attorney and signature certificate

  • Title
    Should a foreigner disclose the source of capital when transferring the investment?
  • Content

    o In principle, no.  

     

    o However, a foreign-invested company may have to disclose the source of capital when applying for a permission to establish a casino in Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. According to Article 171.6 of the Special Act on the Establishment of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and the Development of Free International City, the investment fund should not be reckoned as gains from crimes following Article 2.4 of the Act on the Regulation and Punishment of Concealment of Gains from Crimes when establishing a casino. 

    o If an individual foreign investor who lives in a country that prohibit foreign investment (ex. China) brings investment money by him or herself and not transfer it from his or her country, he or she cannot submit a permit of transfer of foreign currency from his or her country. In this case, the Korea Immigration Service requires the foreign investor to submit evidence materials to prove the foreign currency is his or her capital when issueing foreign investor visa (D-8).  

  • Title
    Can a Korean with permanent residency in a foreign country be regarded as a foreign investor under the Foreign Investment Promotion Act?
  • Content

    o A Korean with permanent residency in a foreign country is subject to not only the Foreign Investment Promotion Act but also the regulations for foreigners. 

     

    o " A Korean with permanent residency in a foreign country" refers to a person who has a permanent residency or a permission of stay in the foreign country. 

     

    o "A person who has a permission of stay in the foreign country" refers to a person who has emigrated to a foreign country that does not have a permanent residency system and falls under one of the following: 

    - A person with a long-term permission of stay of more than four years 

    - A person who has lived in a foreign country, which only permits less than four years of stay, for more than four years and has received a permission stay of more than a year. 

  • Title
    Should a foreign-invested company, which has moved into an individual–type foreign investment zone that has been designated by the governor, apply for tax deductions?
  • Content

    The company should apply for tax deductions even for an individual-type foreign investment zone. Otherwise, the company will not benefit from tax deductions.  

     

    o Attached documents for tax deductions (Apply at the International Economic Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance) 

    - Application form for tax deductions  

    - Foreign investment form for acquisition of new stocks  

    - Documents that verify the designation of an individual-type foreign investment zone (designation notification of relevant local government) 

    - Documents to confirm the type of business (business plan, etc.) 

    - Documents to prove the establishment of a new plant facility.  

  • Title
    When a foreign investor remits investment, would it be still recognized as foreign investment if the investment was in Korean won?
  • Content

    o In order to be recognized as  FDI, the transfer must be in foreign currency from abroad and the exchange of money should be conducted in Korea. A certificate of purchased foreign currency or certificate of deposited foreign currency is to be submitted to register the foreign-invested company.  

     

    o Many foreign banks won Korean won bank accounts in Korean banks. Therefore, when a foreign investor visits his or her country’s bank to transfer investment, the banks sell Korean won in exchange of foreign currency and help the investor to draw money in Korean won in the transaction bank in Korea. However, the foreign investor must reject this offer and transfer in foreign currency.  

  • Title
    Should a foreign-invested company declare the acquisition of land?
  • Content

    o A foreign-invested company that accounts for more than 50% of foreign investment is obliged to declare. According to the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act, an individual who does not have Korean nationality, a corporation or group that is established under foreign laws has more than half of the capital or voting rights is reckoned to be a foreigner. 

     

    o Report of land acquisition under the contract 

    - If a foreigner or a foreign government signed a contract for acquiring a land in Korea, this must be declared to the City Mayor or the head of a Gu within 60 days from the date of contract. 

     

    - However, this is not applicable for the report of real estate transaction in accordance with Article 27 of the Business Affairs of Licensed Real Estate Agents and Report of Real Estate Transactions Act or for the report of housing transaction under Article 80.2 of the Housing Act. 

     

    <Reference> Permanent resident: a permanent resident is a foreigner under the Foreign Investment Promotion Ac, but not a foreigner under the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act. 

  • Title
    Is there a penalty provision for a company that fail to execute investment after reporting foreign investment?
  • Content

    o The report of foreign investment is not mandatory and does not carry legal binding force In other words, the changes to the report of investment can be made at any time when necessary.  

     

    o Items to be modified

    - The name or the nationality of the foreign investor or foreign-invested company

    - Amount of foreign investment, ratio of foreign investment and investment methods

    - Businesses

    - Transferor of stocks 

    - Other types of investment, purpose of investment and the address of the foreign-invested company  

  • Title
    What is the PM system, and what exactly is a PM?
  • Content

    o Designation and operation of a project manager (PM)

    - The CEO of KOTRA can designate a PM for each foreign-invested company to effectively support the foreign investment businesses carried out by foreign-invested companies. 

    - The CEO of KOTRA will notify the designated PM to the relevant foreign investor or foreign-invested company. 

     

    o PM  

    - KOTRA employees

    - Dispatched officers (Public servants dispatched to the foreign investment support center or employees from a relevant organization under Article 15.2 of the Foreign Investment Promotion Act.)

    - Public servants or employees of foreign investment related central administrative organizations and local governments under the Act on the Management of Public Institutions. 

     

    o Roles of PM  

    - Collect and provide documents and information to foreign investors or foreign-invested companies and offer business consults. 

    - Suggest opinions on supporting foreign investment following Article 9, 13, 14 and 14-2 of the Foreign Investment Promotion Act. 

    - Provide business support and civil affairs related to foreign investment under Article 15 and 17 of the Foreign Investment Promotion Act. 

    - Help employees and their families of foreign investors or foreign-invested companies to settle in Korea. 

    - Other foreign investment related works 

  • Title
    What is the difference between the local corporation, branch and liaison office?
  • Content
     A . How foreigners advance in Korea
    직접처리민원사무
      Type Act Note
    1

    Local Corporation

    Foreign Investment Promotion Act

    Recognized as a foreign investment

    2

    Branch office

    Foreign Exchange Transaction Act

    Categorized as a domestic branch of the foreign corporation

    3 Office

    Foreign Exchange Transaction Act

    Categorized as a domestic branch of the foreign corporation

     

    Comparison of a Foreign-Invested Company and a Domestic Branch of a Foreign Company

    직접처리민원사무
    Type

    Foreign-Invested Company

    Domestic Branch of a Foreign Company

    Act

    Foreign Investment Promotion Act

    Foreign Exchange Transaction Act

    Corporation Type

    Domestic corporation

    Foreign corporation

    Identity

    Foreign investors and foreign-invested companies are of separate entities (independent accounting & settlement)

     

    The headquarters and branches are of a single entity (identical accounting & settlement)

    Authorities in charge of accepting registration & granting permission

    Invest KOREA (KOTRA) or the headquarters & branch of a foreign exchange bank

    The headquarters & branches of a foreign exchange bank

    Minimum / Maximum Investment

    Minimum of KRW 100 million for each investment 
     
    (No upper limit)

    No limit in investment amount

    Scope of Tax Obligations

    Tax obligations for all domestic and overseas income
    Corporate tax rate: 10% for KRW 200 million or less, 20% for over KRW 200 million and KRW 20 billion or less, 22% for over KRW 20 billion
    Tax obligations for income derived from domestic sources only
    Corporate tax rate: Identical with the foreign-invested company
     
    In some cases, branch tax shall be paid 
     
    1. Local Corporation 
    Establishment of a local corporation in Korea by a foreign-invested company is regulated by the Foreign investment Promotion Act and the Commercial Act. Under the Foreign Investment Promotion Act and the Commercial Act, a foreign investor shall invest more than KRW 100 million in the establishment of a foreign-invested company in Korea. 
    2. Branch Office
    A “branch office” operates business that generates profits in Korea, and is not recognized as a foreign direct investment under the Foreign Exchange Transaction Act.
    3. Office
    An “office” does not carry out business that generates profits in Korea, but instead undertakes a non-sales function such as liaison work, market research, R&D, etc. An office is granted a distinct number, equivalent to business registration, at a jurisdictional tax office in Korea without the need for registration, which is different from a “branch.”
  • Title
    If a company wishes to move into a foreign investment zone, does it have to complete its investment by the time of move-in contract?
  • Content

    The company does not have to make its minimum investment by the time of move-in contract. The company can sign a move-in contract if it has declared its foreign investment. However, the minimum investment should be made within the execution period (5 years).

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