The neural mechanisms underlying the syntactic processing of sentence comprehension in Korean (L1) and English (L2) by late bilinguals were investigated using functional MRI. The Korean native speakers were asked to read sentences with different levels of syntactic complexity in L1 and L2 and respond to comprehension questions concerning the sentences. The syntactic complexity was varied using a center-embedded sentence “The director that the maid introduced ignored the farmer” or a conjoined sentence “The maid introduced the director and ignored the farmer”. It was found that the major areas involved in sentence processing such as the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), bilateral inferior parietal gyrus, and occipital lobe including cuneus, and lingual gyrus were commonly activated during the processing of both L1 and L2. However, the pattern of activation was different for L1 and L2 in the left IFG. The amount of activation was greater for embedded sentences than for conjoined sentences in L1 while no difference was found in L2. These results suggest that the cortical areas involved with syntactic processing in L1 and L2 are shared, but that the underlying neural mechanisms are different. The findings of the present study are discussed in comparison with Hasegawa et al.’s (Hasegawa, M., Carpenter, P.A., Just, M.A., 2002. An fMRI study of bilingual sentence comprehension and workload. NeuroImage 15, 647–660.) and Yokoyama et al.’s (Yokoyama, S., Okamoto, H., Miyamoto, T., Yoshimoto, K., Kim, J., Iwata, K., Jeong, H., Uchida, S., Ikuta, N., Sassa, Y., Nakamura, W., Horie, K., Sato, S., Kawashima, R., 2006. Cortical activation in the processing of passive sentences in L1 and L2: An fMRI study. NeuroImage 30, 570–579.) studies which also found common areas of activation but different patterns of activation during the processing of L1 and L2.