How to Renounce your Korean Citizenship

The Korean National Assembly passed, in September of 2022, a bill to clarify and revise the procedures for the renunciation of Korean citizenship. The revised Korean Renunciation of Korean Nationality law shall allow some additional men to not have to serve in the Korean Military. However, a newly inserted clause shall allow nearly unfettered discretion to Korean Immigration Services to determine who may renounce Korean citizenship.

Requirements to Renounce Korean Citizenship

In order to renounce your Korean citizenship you either need to: (1) Be born abroad and have “habitually” resided abroad; or (2) Moved abroad before the age of six years old and “habitually” resided abroad, since six years old. These requirements to renounce have been made clear and the definition of “habitually” resident has substantial case law that may be considered. Thus, we believe the present revision allows for more clarity on the basics to renounce. However, a newly inserted clause gives broad discretion to the Korean government that shall, in the near future, likely be challenged in Korean courts.

A newly inserted clause allows for the Korean government to determine if the “acceptance of the application is in harmony with the fairness of the execution of military service duty.” Thus, the Korean government may decide to not accept an application for renunciation of Korean citizenship for seemingly any reason it deems. Applications that are rejected may be challenged in a Korean court.

Thus, we advise anyone who is considering renouncing citizenship to hire an attorney experienced with the Korean Immigration Services and, if applicable, the Korean Military Manpower Administration. The application should be tailored, complete, and nuanced to be accepted. Additionally, a little push by a respected attorney in Korea can go a long way. If your application for Korean Renunciation was denied, you may have recourse in a Korean court.

For a free consultation with an attorney, schedule a call with a Korean Attorney. To learn more about IPG’s Immigration Law Practice please see: IPG Legal’s Immigration Law Practice.

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