Regulation tightened on dual citizenship

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Regulation tightened on dual citizenship

The Ministry of Justice has adopted new regulation aimed at stopping the practice of “birth tours,” in which Korean women move abroad temporarily to give birth to their children, who then have dual citizenship when they return to Korea.

Now, if the mother does not live for more than six months in a foreign country, her child will not be eligible to have dual citizenship in Korea and will have to choose one of the two citizenships - Korean or the country in which the child was born.

The change was prompted by criticism that Koreans with dual citizenship can be exempt from the mandatory 21-month military service in Korea.

The ministry also changed regulations for Chinese nationals living in Korea and trying to become naturalized Korean citizens.

Now, if a Chinese national who was born in Korea and is older than 20 applies to become a naturalized citizen, he or she can be exempt from the written test for Korean citizenship, the ministry said.

The ministry said the exemption from the test in the past has been allowed only for Chinese expatriates who married Koreans or were suffering from mental illness.

“As it has been decades since Chinese expatriates settled down in Korea, and because their children have also adjusted well, we decided to allow them to be exempt from the written test,” a ministry official said.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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