Up-to-date information about Special Renunciation of Korean Nationality

Pureum Law Office(“PLO”) has received a lot of inquires from Korean overseas asking us what is the latest information about the Special Renunciation of Korean Nationality. This post focuses on changes to the special renunciation of Korean Nationality that will be implemented from October 1st, 2022.

I. Relaxation of application requirements.

South Korea’s Ministry of Justice provided an advance notice of legislation regarding guidelines for the special renunciation of Korean Nationality on April 26th, 2021. 

The requirements for application at that time are as follows.

⦁ Where a person has a primary domicile in a foreign country without birth registration under Article 44 of the Act on Registration of Family Relations within three months of the year he registered into preliminary military service.

⦁ Where the person has never entered the Republic of Korea (ROK) after having been born in a foreign country, and his primary domicile is in a foreign country.

⦁ Where it is impractical to hold the person accountable for failure to file a report within a specified period due to any cause similar to subparagraph 1 or 2, in light of the surrounding social circumstances.

However, the Ministry of Justice announced a re-legislative notice on January 28th, 2022. Accordingly, requirements of the special renunciation of Korean Nationality were revised as follows.

⦁ Where a person shall be born in a foreign country and have a domicile in a foreign country.

⦁ Where the primary domicile shall be in a foreign country continuously after the person is born.

⦁ Where the person shall not have enjoyed the rights that only citizens of the Republic of Korea may enjoy for a considerable period.

⦁ Where the person shall not have renounced his Korean nationality within three months from the time he is registered to the preliminary military service pursuant to the proviso of Article 14 (1) on justifiable grounds, which makes it unable to hold the person accountable according to current social circumstances.

⦁ Where the failure to renounce his Korean nationality shall significantly restrict his choice of occupation abroad or cause any equivalent serious disadvantage to him.

According to previous standards,

⦁ Where the birth was reported by March 31 of the year in which he turned 18, or

⦁ Where he has entered the Republic of Korea, he was disallowed from applying for the special renunciation of Korean nationality.

However, according to the changed standards, the requirements have been eased somewhat to apply for the special renunciation of Korean Nationality if the person was born in a foreign country, has an address in a foreign country, and has a primary domicile in a foreign country, even if he has registered his birth and entered the Republic of Korea.

II. Application Procedure

We examine the application procedure.

Basic application procedures are as follows.

Application Decision on whether
to examine or not
 Examination Permit/
Non-permission
Staying abroad Examine formal
Requirements
Examine substantive
Requirements
Loss of Nationality
at the time of permission
(Diplomatic
Office abroad)
 (Nationality dept.) (Nationality Deliberation
Committee)
 (Applicant)

⦁ An application for the special renunciation of Korean Nationality must be made at overseas diplomatic offices while the claimant is staying abroad.

⦁ The respective overseas diplomatic offices shall, upon application of the special renunciation of Korean Nationality, send documents to the Nationality Division of the Korean Immigration Office to examine formal requirements.

The review of formal requirements is a review of the following:

1) A person shall be born in a foreign country and have a domicile in a foreign country; and

2) The primary domicile shall be in a foreign country continuously after the person is born.

⦁ When it is judged that the application has passed the formal requirements, the Nationality Deliberation Committee examines the substantive requirements. The review of substantive requirements is a review of the following.

⦁ A person shall not have enjoyed the rights that only citizens of the Republic of Korea may enjoy for a considerable period.

⦁ The person shall not have renounced his Korean nationality within three months from the time he is registered to the preliminary military service pursuant to the proviso of Article 14 (1) on justifiable grounds, which makes the person unable to be held accountable according to the following social circumstances.

⦁ The failure to renounce his Korean nationality shall significantly restrict his choice of occupation abroad or cause any equivalent serious disadvantage to him.

⦁ If the application passes the examination of the substantive requirements, the Ministry of Justice will decide whether to grant or not to grant the special renunciation of Korean Nationality and if it is granted, then the claimant can finally renounce their Korean nationality.

III. Conclusion

The special renunciation of Korean Nationality will be finalized in September 2022 after a plenary session of South Korea’s National Assembly. There is a possibility that some of the requirements and procedures may be changed before that, but it is very likely that the above requirements and procedures will be set as they are. 

If there are any changes, we will update Pureum Law Office’s website with a separate article.

In order to determine whether you have satisfied the requirements for the special renunciation of Korean Nationality, please click on the link below and answer the questions. 

If you have any other questions, please email us here at PLO anytime. 

PLO will also answer questions on whether or not you satisfy the requirements for renunciation under the special nationality renunciation permit system as per the amended Nationality Act that will be enforced from October 1, 2022. If you are interested, please follow this link.

Please see our blog posts for more useful tips and articles on dual citizenship in Korea and much more.