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Living areas explanation

This information is drafted as of October 30, 2014.
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 Choice of Nationality by Persons with Multiple Nationalities
The “Choice of Nationality System” is a system that requires persons with nationalities both of the Republic of Korea and a foreign country to choose one nationality within the period for nationality choice.

A person who has attained multiple nationalities before fully turning 20 years of age shall choose one nationality before fully turning 22 years of age; and a person who has attained multiple nationalities after fully turning 20 years of age shall declare his/her intention to choose or renounce the nationality of the Republic of Korea to the Minister of Justice within two years from such time.
Legal Status of Persons with Multiple Nationalities
A person who has both Korean and foreign nationalities by birth or under other conditions prescribed by the Nationality Act(hereinafter referred to as “person with multiple nationalities”) shall be treated only as a national of the Republic of Korea in applying the Acts and subordinate statutes of the Republic of Korea. (Article 11-2.(1) of the Nationality Act).
- “A person who has both nationalities of the Republic of Korea and that of a foreign country under other conditions prescribed by the Nationality Act” means any person falling under any of the following (Article 16.(1) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act):
· A person who has vowed his/her intention not to exercise his/her foreign nationality in the Republic of Korea according to Article 10.(2) of the Nationality Act.
· A person who is a national of Republic of Korea and has reported his/her intention to retain the nationality of the Republic of Korea to the Minister of Justice within six months after attaining a foreign nationality under Article 15.(2) of the Nationality Act.
· A person who has vowed his/her intention not to exercise his/her foreign nationality in the Republic of Korea to the Minister of Justice and has reacquired the nationality of the Republic of Korea according to Article 2.(1) of the additional clauses of the amended Act No. 10275, theNationality Act, or has vowed his/her intentions not to exercise his/her foreign nationality in the Republic of Korea after reacquiring a foreign nationality according to Article 2.(2) of the supplementary provisions of the Amended Act of theNationality Act.
When a person with multiple nationalities intends to engage in a field in which he/she is not allowed to perform official duties while maintaining a foreign nationality under the relevant Acts and subordinate statutes, the person shall renounce the foreign nationality (Article 11-2.(2) of theNationality Act).
Obligation of Persons with Multiple Nationalities to Choose One Nationality
The choice of nationality system
- The “choice of nationality system” requires persons with nationalities both of the Republic of Korea and a foreign country to choose one nationality within the period for nationality choice.
- The choice of nationality system seeks to meet the demand of the international community to reduce holders of multiple nationalities as far as possible and prevent a variety of problems in light of immigration or sojourn management.
[Source: Commentary on the nationality Act (Immigration & Foreigners Policy Headquarter of the Ministry of Justice, 2007) p.153 ∼ p.154]
Obligation of Persons with Multiple Nationalities to Choose One Nationality
- A person who has attained multiple nationalities before fully turning 20 years of age shall choose one nationality before fully turning 22 years of age; and a person who has attained multiple nationalities after fully turning 20 years of age shall choose one nationality within two years from such time: Provided that this shall not apply to any person with multiple nationalities who has vowed his/her intention not to exercise his/her foreign nationality in the Republic of Korea to the Minister of Justice, pursuant Article 10.(2) of the Nationality Act (Article 12.(1) of the Nationality Act).
- Notwithstanding the main sentence of Article 12.(1) of theNationality Act, a person enlisted in the first military national service under Article 8 of the Military Service Actshall choose one nationality either within three months from the time of enlistment, or within two years from the date he/she falls under any of the following (Provided that if a person intends to choose the nationality of the Republic of Korea, he/she may do so even before he/she falls under any of the following) (Article 12.(2) and (3) of theNationality Act):
· Where he has completed, or is deemed to have completed, his active military service, full-time reserve service or replacement status.
· Where he is enlisted in the second military service.
· Where he is exempted from military service.
Choosing of Nationality of Republic of Korea by Persons with Multiple Nationalities
Procedures for Choosing Nationality of the Republic of Korea
- A person with multiple nationalities who intends to choose the nationality of the Republic of Korea within the period prescribed in the main sentence of Article 12.(1) of the Nationality Actmay either renounce his/her foreign nationality or declare his/her intentions to choose the nationality of the Republic of Korea to the Minister of Justice after vowing his/her intention not to exercise his/her foreign nationality in the Republic of Korea, as prescribed by the Minister of Justice (Article 13.(1) of the Nationality Act).
- A person with multiple nationalities who intends to choose the nationality of the Republic of Korea after the expiration of the period prescribed in the main sentence of Article 12.(1) of the Nationality Actmay declare his/her intention to choose the nationality of the Republic of Korea to the Minister of Justice only after the person has renounced his/her foreign nationality (The main sentence of Article 13.(2) of the Nationality Act).
· Provided that a person who has completed, or is deemed to have completed, his active military service, full-time reserve service or replacement status may declare his/her intentions to choose the nationality of the Republic of Korea in the manner prescribed in Article 13.(1) of the 「Nationality Act」within two years from the time the person falls thereunder (Proviso to Article 13.(2) of 「Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act」).
- Notwithstanding Article 13.(1) and the proviso to Article 13.(2) of the Nationality Act, a person whose mother is deemed to have resided in a foreign country for the purpose of having the said person attain the nationality of the foreign country due to the tie of his/her birth may declare his/her intention to choose the nationality of the Republic of Korea only after the person has renounced his/her foreign nationality (Article 13.(3) of the Nationality Act).
· “A person whose mother is deemed to have resided in a foreign country for the purpose of having the said person attain the nationality of the foreign country at the time of his/her birth” under Article 13.(3) of the Nationality Actrefers to any person whose mother had been living in the Republic of Korea yet left for a foreign country and gave birth to the person while residing in the country for the purpose of having the person attain the nationality of the foreign country: Provided that this shall not apply to any person whose father or mother falls under any of the following (Article 17.(3) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act):
Cases where the mother or father was residing in a foreign country for at least two consecutive years, adding up the period before and after the child’s birth.
Cases where the mother or father acquired permanent residency or nationality of a foreign country before and after childbirth.
Cases where the childbirth took place while residing in a foreign country for a time period prescribed by the Minister of Justice upon socially accepted grounds such as overseas study, dispatch for public duties, diplomatic posts, and overseas employment.
Report on Choice of Nationality
- A person with multiple nationalities who intends to choose the nationality the Republic of Korea under Article 13.(1) or the proviso to Article 13.(2) of theNationality Actshall complete procedures to renounce or relinquish the nationality of a foreign country under Article 11.(1) to (2) of theEnforcement Decree of the nationality Act, complete a report on the choice of nationality (Form 7 in the attached paper of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act) and submit the report to the Minister of Justice, or complete a written vow of non-exercising of a foreign nationality and complete a report on choice of nationality (Form 7 in the attached paper of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act) and submit the report to the head of the immigration office or the head of an immigration branch office (hereinafter “head of the office, etc.”). In turn, the head of the office, etc. shall forward the received report without delay to the Minister of Justice (Article 13.(4) of theNationality Act, Article 17.(1) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Actand Article 11.(1) of theEnforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
- A person with multiple nationalities who intends to declare his/her intention to choose the nationality the Republic of Korea under the main sentence of Article 13.(2) or Article 13.(3) of theNationality Actshall complete procedures to renounce or relinquish the nationality of a foreign country, complete a report on the choice of nationality (Form 7 in the attached paper of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act) prescribed by Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice and submit it to the Minister of Justice (Article 13.(4) of theNationality Act, Article 17.(2) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Actand Article 11.(1) of theEnforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
- The following documents shall be attached to a report on the choice of nationality (Form 7 in the attached paper of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act) (Article 11.(2) of theEnforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
· Certificate on family relations records
· Document proving the renouncement of a foreign nationality and the date thereof, or a written vow to not exercise a foreign nationality in the Republic of Korea
· a Document certifying the reason for and date of such acquisition and a copy of passport
· Military service-related document certifying a fact pursuant to No.1 of Article 12.(3) of the Nationality Act(Restricted to persons who vow not to exercise of a foreign nationality under the proviso to Article 13.(2) of the Nationality Act).
· Document prescribed by the Minister of Justice that certifies a fact not pursuant to Article 13.(3) of the Nationality Act(Restricted to persons who vow not to exercise of a foreign nationality under Article 17.(1) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act).
- Where a person intending to file an application or report is under the age of 15, a legal representative shall act on behalf of the person. In this case, the legal representative shall submit the documents above as well as record his/her name, address and the relationship with the applicant or reporter, and attach relevant documents certifying the relationship (Article 19 of the Nationality Actand Article 22 of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act).
- Where a person who has a domicile abroad wishes to report his/her choice of nationality, the person may also submit an application through the head of a diplomatic mission abroad (referring to an embassy, legation, representatives, consulate general and consulate of the Republic of Korea in foreign countries) that has jurisdiction over the domicile (Article 2 of the Act on the Establishment of Overseas Diplomatic and Consular Missions of the Republic of Koreaand Article 25.(1) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act).
- Where any of the documents above is written in a foreign language, a translated copy shall be attached with the name and contact details of the translator specified. (Article 16 of the Enforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
- When the Minister of Justice receives a report on the choice of nationality, he/she shall inform the person of such fact without delay and notify the head of the family registry office at the person’s place of registration (Article 17.(3) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act).
Renouncement of Nationality of Republic of Korea by Persons with Multiple Nationalities
Requirements and Procedures for Renunciation of Nationality of the Republic of Korea
- A person with multiple nationalities who intends to choose the nationality of a foreign country may declare his/her intention to renounce the nationality of the Republic of Korea to the Minister of Justice via the head of a diplomatic mission overseas having jurisdiction over the place of the person’s residence, only if the person has an overseas domicile (Main sentence of Article 14.(1) of the Nationality Act).
- Notwithstanding the main sentence of Article 12.(1) of theNationality Act, a person enlisted in the first military service under Article 8 of the Military Service Actmay make such declaration within two years from the date he falls under any of the following (Article 12.(2) and (3) and Proviso to Article 14.(1) of theNationality Act):
· Where he has completed, or is deemed to have completed, his active military service, full-time reserve service or replacement status.
· Where he is enlisted in the second military service.
· Where he is exempted from military service.
- Any person who was born while his lineal ascendant stayed abroad without the intention of permanently residing in any foreign country may make a declaration of renouncement of his The nationality of the Republic of Korea, only when the person falls under any of the following, with respect to his obligation for military service(Article 12.(3)Nationality Act):
· Where he has completed, or is deemed to have completed, his active military service, full-time reserve service or replacement status.
· Where he is enlisted in the second military service.
· Where he is exempted from military service.
“Any person who was born while his lineal ascendant stayed abroad without the intention of permanently residing in any foreign country” refers to any person falling under the following (Article 16.(2) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Actand Article 10-2 of theEnforcement Rule of the nationality Act):
· A person who was not born under circumstances where his/her father or mother based their livelihood in a foreign country and had acquired the country’s citizenship or permanent residency (In case of a foreign country which does not adopt a permanent residency system or use the term ‘citizenship’, the nationality is deemed to replace citizenship. Hereinafter the same as above).
· A person who was not born under any of the following circumstances of residency:
√ A male person born in a foreign country whose father or mother had attained permanent residency or citizenship of the foreign country
√ A male person born in a foreign country while his father or mother was applying for permanent residency or citizenship of the foreign country
√ A male person born in a foreign country whose father or mother applied for permanent residency or citizenship of the foreign country after the birth of the person
√ A male person born in a foreign country whose father or mother kept residing in a foreign country at least for 17 consecutive years before making a report on nationality renouncement
Report on Renouncement of Nationality
- A person with multiple nationalities who intends to declare his/her intention to renounce the nationality of the Republic of Korea shall complete a report on nationality renouncement (Form 8 in the attached paper of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act) and submit it to the head of a diplomatic mission abroad that has jurisdiction over his/her domicile, and the head of said diplomatic mission abroad shall forward the report to the Minister of Justice without delay (Article 18.(1) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Actand Article 12.(1) of theEnforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
· The following documents shall be attached to a report on nationality renouncement (Form 8 in the attached paper of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act) [Article 12.(1) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Actand Article 14.(3) of the Guidelines on Nationality-related Tasks(Ministry of Justice Rules No. 1055)].
√ Certificate on family relations records
√ Document certifying the fact of attaining or holding a foreign nationality
√ a Document certifying the reason for and date of foreign nationality acquisition and a copy of passport
√ As for a male person who intends to report on the renouncement of nationality before March 31 of the year on which he fully reaches the age of 18 years, a document certifying that he does not fall under Article 16-2 of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act, that is, an official document (or its copy) issued by a foreign agency certifying that his father or mother resided in a foreign country for at least 17 consecutive years after his birth, and birth certificate, or a document corresponding to these.
√ As for a male person who intends to report on his renouncement of nationality before March 31 of the year he fully reaches the age of 18 years, documents certifying that he falls under any of the following in regard to performance of military service duty (submit only if it is impossible to verify with military certificate) and military certificate (submit only if he does not agree with verification of content through a joint utilization of the administrative information pursuant to Article 36.(1) of the Electronic Government Act).
1. Where he has completed, or is deemed to have completed, his active military service, full-time reserve service or replacement status.
2. Where he is enlisted in the second military service.
3. Where he is exempted from military service.
· Where any of the documents above is written in a foreign language, a translated copy shall be attached with the name and contact details of the translator specified. (Article 16 of the Enforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
- Where a person intending to file an application or report of his/her intention to renounce the nationality of the Republic of Korea is under the age of 15, a legal representative shall act on behalf of the person (Article 19 of the Nationality Act).
· When the legal representative makes an application or report on his/her behalf, the legal representative shall enter his/her name and address in such application or report and shall accompany a document evidencing the relationship with the person represented by the legal represented (Article 19 of the Nationality Actand Article 25-2.2 of the Enforcement Decree of the Nationality Act).
- A person who has a domicile abroad and wishes to report renouncement of his The nationality of the Republic of Korea may also submit a report through the head of a diplomatic mission abroad that has jurisdiction over the domicile (Article 25.(1) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act).
- A fee for reporting nationality renouncement is 20,000 KRW per person (No. 5 of Article 18.(1) of the Enforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
· The fee shall be paid by government revenue stamp corresponding to the fee amount. Provided that when paying to a diplomatic mission abroad: cash, foreign currency corresponding to the amount or voucher certifying its cash payment, etc. are acceptable methods of payment (Article 18.(2) of the Enforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
- The Minister of Justice accepts a report on nationality renouncement only where the report meets the requirements under Article 14.(1) of the Nationality Act(Article 18.(2) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act).
- When the Minister of Justice accepts a repot on nationality renouncement, he shall inform the person of such fact without delay, notify the head of the family registry office at the person’s place of registration and make a notification in an official gazette (Article 18.(3) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act).
- When a person who has renounced Korean nationality is registered as a resident, the Minister of Justice shall inform the fact also to the head of the relevant resident registration office (Article 18.(4) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act).
- A person who has reported the renouncement of nationality shall lose the nationality of the Republic of Korea as of the time of the report’s submission (Article 14.(2) of the Nationality Act).
Orders to Choose Nationality for Persons with Multiple Nationalities
Orders to Choose Nationality
- The Minister of Justice shall order a person with multiple nationalities who fails to choose one nationality within the period prescribed under Article 12.(1) or (2) of the Nationality Actto choose one nationality within one year (Article 14-2.(1) of the Nationality Act).
- Where a person with multiple nationalities who has vowed his/her intention not to exercise his/her foreign nationality in the Republic of Korea under Article 10.(2), 13.(1) or the proviso to 13.(2) conducts any act evidently violating such intention, the Minister of Justice may order the person to choose one nationality within six months (Article 14-2. (2) of the Nationality Act).
· “Any act evidently violating such intention” refers to the case where a person who has vowed his/her intention not to exercise his/her foreign nationality in the ROK has conducted any of the following (Article 18-2. (4) of the Enforcement Decree of Nationality Act):
√ Where the person has repeatedly departed and entered the Republic of Korea with a foreign passport
√ Where the person has submitted an alien registration or report on residence for the purpose of exercising a foreign nationality
√ Where the person has exercised or attempted to exercise rights as a foreigner in the Republic of Korea in dealing with the State, a local government, a public agency, a public entity or educational institution by using a foreign passport, etc. without a valid reason.
Procedures for Orders to Choose Nationality
- Where the Minister of Justice gives an order to choose a nationality to a person, he/she shall directly issue a written order of nationality selection (Form 8-2 in the attached paper of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act) to the person or deliver it via registered mail: Provided that if it is difficult to be directly issued or delivered to the person, the Minster shall issue or deliver it to the person’s family or actual caretaker (Article 18-2.(1) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act and Article 12.(2) of Enforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
- Where issuance or delivery of an written order to choose a nationality (Form 8-2 in the attached paper of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act) due to unknown whereabouts, etc., the order is published in an official gazette, and the order takes effect 14 days after the notification date (Article 18-2.(2) of the Enforcement Decree of the nationality Act and Article 12.(2) of Enforcement Rule of the nationality Act).
When a person who is ordered to choose one nationality according to the above intends to choose the nationality of the Republic of Korea, the person shall renounce his/her foreign nationality (Article 14-2.(3) of the Nationality Act).
A person who fails to carry out an order even after being ordered to choose one nationality shall lose the nationality of Republic of Korea at the time the specified period expires (Article 14-2.(4) of the 「Nationality Act」).
□ Immigration by multiple nationality holders
The Minister of Justice shall separately determine the procedures concerning immigration and sojourn of multiple nationality holders under the 「Nationality Act」 (Article 79.(1) of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Immigration Control Act」).
※ Pursuant to the 「Immigration Control Act」, matters concerning immigration and sojourn of multiple nationality holders are stipulated in the「Guidelines on Handling of Affairs Regarding Dual Citizenship Holders」(Ministry of Justice Notice No. 2009-528; enforced on September 1, 2009).
A person who holds two or more foreign nationalities, other than Korean nationality, shall be deemed a national of the country that issued the passport used by the person (Article 79.(2) of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Immigration Control Act」).
A person whose nationality is unclear shall be deemed a national of the country that issued the passport used by the person (Article 79.(3) of the「Enforcement Rule of the Immigration Control Act」).
※ The webpage of the e-Government for Foreigners provides easy-to-understand information on complicated affairs related to nationality when users click on the corresponding sections. Please refer to the Information - Nationality section on the webpage.
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