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Gov't to conditionally permit multiple citizenship

All Headlines 10:55 April 27, 2010

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, April 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will begin allowing its citizens to retain citizenships from other countries by as early as next January, provided they give up their rights as foreign nationals while in Korea, the government said Tuesday.

A related law revision, already approved by parliament, was passed at a prime minister-chaired Cabinet session, government spokesman Kim Dae-gi said. The revision is expected to be proclaimed soon by President Lee Myung-bak.

Current law prohibits Korean expatriates and foreigners residing in South Korea from holding multiple citizenship. Koreans who obtain foreign citizenship at birth in another country or after emigrating must choose one nationality by the age of 22 or automatically lose their Korean citizenship.

After the revision, those who submit written pledges relinquishing their rights as foreigners while in the country can retain other citizenships. Such rights include tax exemptions and admissions to international schools. All able-bodied men holding South Korean citizenship must also fulfill their mandatory military service.

A number of young Korean men have sought to evade the draft using multiple citizenship.

The revision would also grant Korean nationality to foreigners married to Koreans, those with valued expertise in such fields as science, economy, culture and sports, and to Korean adoptees and emigrants aged 65 or older who have returned to their home country.

Koreans born in countries like the United States that offer birthright citizenship will still have to give up foreign citizenship when they become adults in order to keep their Korean nationality.


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