Korean passport
Korean passport, 1905.jpg
Korean passport from 1905
Issued by Imperial Korean Foreign Office
First issued1902
EligibilityKorean nationality
Korean Empire passport
Revised RomanizationDaehanjeguk Jipjo
McCune–ReischauerTaehanjeguk Chipcho

Korean Empire passports were issued to subjects of the Korean Empire for international travel.


The first English-language passports of the Korean Empire were issued in 1902 by the People's Comfort Agency (Korean: 수민원; 綏民院) to Koreans migrating to Hawaii.[1] By 1904, passport issuance was conducted by the Imperial Korean Foreign Office (Korean: 대한제국 외부). The passport was written in English, French, and Classical Chinese, and contained the bearer's name, address, age, and destination.[2]

Soon after the 1910 advent of Japanese rule in Korea, Koreans began having to use Japanese passports. These were not always easy to obtain; the Japanese rulers issued then as a rule only to a small number of pro-Japanese collaborators (Korean: 민족반역자) and/or the Japanese police demanded bribes for these passports to be issued. Even these were in fact colonial subject passports just like BN(O) passports and a special permit was required to travel to Japan (abolished only at the end of Japanese rule when the Allied naval blockade disabled travels from/to Japan anyway) Thus, some Koreans resorted to naturalising as citizens of China and acquiring Republic of China passports instead. However, for those aiming to travel to the United States this method created its own difficulties, as the bearers of such passports then became subject to the provisions of the United States' Chinese Exclusion Act.[3] Other Koreans with connections to the Shanghai Exile Government were able to obtain travel documents from there; however, its acceptance was guaranteed as the Shanghai Exile Government was only recognized by the then Republic of China(now Taiwanese) government. Once Korea became liberated by the US, the interim Korean administration re-issued the Jipjo.

Surviving examples of Korean Empire passports are rare. One specimen is the passport of An Cheol-yeong, preserved by his son An Hyeong-ju of Hawaii; in 2012, the younger An donated that passport and his collection of nearly 2,500 other documents of Korean American history to the National Library of Korea in Seoul.[4] Another specimen is the passport issued in 1903 to diplomat Min Yonghwan, which is held by the Soongsil University Museum.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Choi, Zihn (Winter 2002). "Early Korean Immigrants to America: Their Role in the Establishment of the Republic of Korea" (PDF). East Asian Review. 14 (4): 43–71. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  2. ^ "한국이민사박물관 소장품: 1904년 대한제국 여권". Dongpo News. 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  3. ^ Lee, Erika; Yung, Judy (2010). Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  4. ^ "대한제국 여권 등 하와이 이민史 자료 2500점 기증". Munhwa Ilbo. 2012-08-09. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  5. ^ "한국 근대의 민족운동". Soongsil University Museum. Retrieved 2012-08-11.