Dual Nationality to Become Legal

      November 13, 2009 11:40

      The Justice Ministry has completed a draft amendment of citizenship laws that will permit Koreans to hold dual nationality in some circumstances. Under the new law, dual nationality holders born abroad will be allowed to maintain both citizenships provided they do not exercise certain rights and privileges using their legal status of foreigners.

      The ministry announced the regulations Thursday.

      Those who obtain foreign citizenship by birth will be allowed to maintain it if they submit a written oath by the age of 22 not to exercise the rights and privileges of foreigners in Korea by using their second passport.

      After the age of 22, men will be allowed to maintain multiple citizenship only if they complete their military service here. Under the current law, dual citizenship holders must choose one nationality by the age of 22 and submit a written pledge to give up their foreign citizenship if they choose their Korean nationality. The revision is aimed at blocking a drain on military manpower.

      Those caught using their foreign passports to enter international schools or invest in Korea as foreigners will be ordered to choose a single nationality and automatically lose their Korean nationality if they fail to give up their foreign citizenship within a specified period.

      The regulations also apply for other groups such as foreigners who have immigrated through marriage with Koreans; highly skilled foreigners; senior citizens living overseas; those who have regained Korean citizenship after being adopted by foreign families; and Chinese nationals who were born and have lived here for more than 20 years.

      Under the current law, foreigners have to give up their foreign citizenship within six months after they obtain Korean nationality.

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