Dual Citizenship in Korea

Dual Citizenship In Korea: An Expats Guide

Dual citizenship in Korea: It’s like having your kimchi and eating it too—except it’s complicated. You might be wondering, ‘Is it legal?

How does it work?’

Whether you’re an expat eyeing long-term residency or a Korean diaspora considering a homecoming, this guide unravels the knotted web of holding two passports and belonging to two worlds.

Ways To Become A Korean Dual Citizen

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In particular, the dual citizenship law in South Korea is allowable under four distinct circumstances:

  1. By birthright
  2. By naturalization
  3. By adoption
  4. By special contributions

Conditions To Be Met

By Birthright

A child born to Korean parents overseas or a child born in Korea to at least one Korean parent can have dual citizenship.

However, they have to renounce one citizenship before turning 22 unless they swear an oath of allegiance to Korea before they become full age under the law.

By Naturalization

Foreign nationals married to Koreans living in South Korea for over two years, or people who lived in Korea for over five consecutive years, can apply for Korean citizenship without giving up their initial nationality.

By Adoption

A foreign child adopted by Korean citizens can have dual citizenship until the age of 22. To keep both citizenships, they must declare allegiance to Korea before reaching full age.

By Special Contributions

Individuals who’ve made significant contributions to Korea may be granted dual citizenship at the discretion of the Ministry of Justice.

The stipulated categories have inherent complexities, mostly associated with social, cultural, and legal attachments on nationality.

For instance, males granted dual citizenship through the birth or adoption category are bound by Korea’s mandatory military service law

Moreover, the submission to an oath of allegiance and declaration of income and overseas property indicates South Korea’s efforts to balance the effects of dual citizenship on its domestic economy and security. 

There are also categories of people allowed to maintain dual citizenship even after turning 22. They include international marriage migrants, skilled professionals in science and technology, and individuals who’ve made significant contributions to Korean society.

For exceptional global talent, the Korean Government introduced the “F-5-11 Residency Visa”, aiming to attract brilliant minds contributing to the country’s economy and development.

 It allows them to maintain dual citizenship without compulsory military service (for males) or confining real property declaration (for both genders), positioning it as a strong incentive.

How To Apply?

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  1. First, you need to confirm whether you are eligible for dual citizenship based on the categories above
  2. The next step involves gathering required documentation like the citizenship certificate of your native country, birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), and Korean language proficiency certificate
  3. You will have to fill out an application for permission for dual citizenship and submit all the documents to the Ministry of Justice in Korea through a Korean embassy or consulate in your residence country
  4. People seeking permission for dual nationality based on their talents must include proof of their exceptional abilities in their application
  5. The Ministry of Justice examines every application. If the application is accepted, you will have to give a “swearing of an oath” which means, you will swear to behave as a good citizen and uphold the law
  6. You’ll be asked to swear to make an active contribution to South Korea’s development and global activity
  7. After swearing the oath, you will officially gain Korean dual citizenship

Remember, rules about dual citizenship are subject to change and can vary. It’s important to stay updated about the current legislation and requirements so that you can make the most informed decision about pursuing dual citizenship in Korea.

 Also, every situation is unique, so it’s equally important to get individual legal advice if you are considering applying for dual citizenship.

It’s a rigorous process, but with the right preparation and persistence, it can open a new world of opportunities.

Advantages Of Having Korean Dual Citizenship

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The privileges of Korean dual citizenship remain particularly appealing in today’s globalized world. Let’s delve into this notion to illuminate these advantages in greater detail.

Unfettered Access To Job Markets

 As a dual citizen, you would be free to work and establish a business not only in Korea but also in your home country. 

Whether you’re a professional seeking a job in Korea’s advanced technological sector or an entrepreneur aiming to tap into Korea’s thriving industries, dual citizenship provides this latitude

Wide-Ranging Property Rights 

Certain countries often restrict non-citizens from owning property or impose stringent rules in that regard. However, as a dual citizen, you would avail the privilege of property ownership akin to a Korean national, making investments within the real estate landscape feasible

Expanded Education Opportunities

 Dual citizenship proffers access to Korea’s progressive educational system, which is open to both Korean nationals and international students. In addition to this, as a Korean national, you may also be eligible for some scholarships and discounts

Comprehensive Healthcare Cover

Health services in Korea are extremely efficient. As a dual citizen, you are guaranteed access to the country’s comprehensive healthcare system. This applies equally to national health insurance, ensuring you are well-covered in all circumstances

Extended Visa-Free Travel

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 Korean passport holders have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 188 countries and territories. This makes it one of the world’s most potent passports. If you are a dual citizen, this benefit significantly simplifies the process when planning international trips

Social And Cultural Integration

 As a dual citizen, one achieves distinct integration within the Korean social fabric. You can fully explore Korean culture, language, history, traditions, and participate in civil engagements, which otherwise might remain elusive to non-Korean residents

Legal Rights Protection \

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Dual citizens have the same rights and protections that Korean law offers its citizens while also enjoying the rights and protections provided by their home country. This means you are safeguarded under two legal systems, an advantageous facet not bestowed upon non-citizens

However, obtaining Korean citizenship is not considered to be an easy task. Extensive background checks, documentations and strict qualifications all add to the process.

Despite these obstacles, the rewards are commensurate with the effort. Acquiring dual citizenship in Korea opens doors to a variety of opportunities, whether professional, social, cultural, or legal

Therefore, if you’re looking at establishing more profound roots in Korea and achieving a greater sense of belonging, this path might be one to consider seriously.


So there you have it—dual citizenship in Korea isn’t as straightforward as ordering a plate of Bulgogi. There are legalities to navigate, forms to fill, and, yes, advantages to enjoy.

Whether you decide to walk down the dual citizenship path or stick to a single nationality, knowing the rules will help you make an informed decision. Consider this your passport to mastering dual citizenship in Korea.

Decision Time!

But wait! There’s lot more that you might be interested in to follow:

  • Citizenship In Korea
  • Permanent Residence In Korea
  • Temporary Residence In Korea

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