The Acts and subordinate statutes that define the scope of overseas Koreans include the 「Act on the Immigration and Legal Status of Overseas Koreans」, 「Overseas Korea Foundation Act」, 「Korea Foundation for International Healthcare Act」, and 「Foreign Exchange Transactions Regulations」.
The scope of overseas Koreans varies slightly depending on the purpose of legislation of specific Acts and subordinate statutes. In general, the scope is not limited to those who used to be Korean nationals and obtained foreign nationality; it even includes Korean nationals residing abroad for extended periods of time. The「Act on the Immigration and Legal Status of Overseas Koreans」defines overseas Koreans as follows: ① nationals of the Republic of Korea who obtain permanent residency in a foreign country or are residing in a foreign country with a view to living permanently there; and ② persons who have held nationality of the Republic of Korea (including Koreans who had emigrated to a foreign country before the Government of the Republic of Korea was established) or their lineal descendants and who obtain the nationality of a foreign country.
The「Overseas Korea Foundation Act」 defines overseas Koreans as ① persons who have nationality of the Republic of Korea, and stay in a foreign country for a long term or obtain permanent residency in a foreign country; and ② persons who have Korean lineage, regardless of their nationality, and reside and make a living in a foreign country. The「Korea Foundation for International Healthcare Act」defines overseas Koreans as persons who have Korean lineage, regardless of their nationality, and reside and make a living in a foreign country. The 「Foreign Exchange Transactions Regulations」 defines overseas Koreans as ① emigrants under the 「Emigration Act」 who gain a foreign nationality; and ② Korean nationals who obtain permanent residency or a corresponding status in a foreign country.