Campaign & Timeline

Dual Citizenship Campaign Timeline

Applications are accepted only within the Republic of Korea from persons that Korea considers "permanent residents" (Fx-visa holders). G.O.A.'L has tried to receive confirmation that the status of an "orphan" guarantees to be exempt from service but was not able to do so. For this particular reason G.O.A.'L recommends all male adoptees who may be eligible for active military duty to wait for the Military Law Revision (submitted by Congressman Kim Chung-hwan) to be passed by the National Assembly.

Since Dual Citizenship is a work in progress even today, G.O.A.'L promises to communicate all changes as quickly and accurately as possible to the international adoptee community.

Countries that allow dual citizenship: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, U.S.A

Countries that do not allow dual citizenship: Norway

For those interested in applying for dual citizenship, we recommend consulting with G.O.A.'L before applying. G.O.A.'L is authorized by the Ministry of Justice-Immigration as an official counseling center relating to dual citizenship. We have also been given the authorization to translate official documents.

 

Timeline
 

1 January 2011

Nationality Law Revision goes into effect allowing Korean adoptees to recover their Korean citizenship and become a dual citizen

21 April 2010

Nationality Law Revision passed by the Korean National Assembly

 

9 December 2009

Congressman and former G.O.A.'L Board Member Kim Chung-hwan files motion on behalf of G.O.A.'L to revise the Military Service Law to allow Korean adoptees that recover citizenship to be automatically exempt from military service

 

25 August 2009

Public hearing where revised bill was presented and information presented regarding multiple citizenships

 

15 May 2008

G.O.A.'L officially launches global campaign to allow Korean adoptees to obtain dual citizenship rights. If successful, this would affect adoptees from the countries listed: Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States. It could also potentially affect Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

 

 

Historical Campaign Background
Since 
1956, officially more than 160,000 Korean babies and children have been sent for foreign adoption to at least 14 different countries. Although about two-thirds were sent to the United States, significant populations of Koreans were adopted to parts of Europe, Canada, and Australia. Additionally, an unknown number of Korean children were adopted through privately arranged adoptions. 

Global Overseas Adoptees' Link (G.O.A.'L) was founded in 1998 by adult Korean adoptees who returned to Korea to learn about their origins. As such, we have played an integral part in raising awareness about adoption, providing education to adoptees, adoption professionals, and even domestic Koreans by offering volunteer opportunities with our organization. Over the past decade, many returning adoptees have chosen to live in Korea for extensive periods of time studying, working, searching for birth families, and some even getting married and settling here.

In 1999, G.O.A.'L successfully lobbied together with the Korean adoptee community and other interested groups to have Korean adoptees included as benefitting persons of the Overseas Koreans Act. This Act led to the creation of the F-4 visa. The F-4 visa has been an important step to providing a means for adoptees to return to Korea to live and work freely, however, the visa does have limits.

In Fall 2007, G.O.A.'L officially started the dual citizenship for adoptees campaign by beginning research for information about dual citizenship. In October 2009, the revised bill was submitted to the National Assembly. Much lobbying was needed to get this bill to pass. During that time, G.O.A.'L continued to conduct research into the needs and demands of Korean adoptees. Two surveys were initiated during this time: one just prior to the public hearing which generated great interest and another to find out what the opinions of Korean adoptees were related to dual citizenship.

Existing Issues
With regard to dual citizenship, there are some existing challenges to be examined, discussed and resolved. For example, the issue of nationality also implies loyalty to one's country. However, it is clear that for adoptees, most, if not all, have 
loyalty for both their adoptive countries and Korea, the land of their birth and land of their ancestors. Adoptees seeking to have their Korean citizenship reinstated are ready to accept and manage the rights and obligations involved by both nationalities. 

The campaign acknowledges the issue of mandatory military service for males in Korea. Korean immigration authorities are concerned with dual citizenship being misused to escape one's military obligation. It is important to note that under International Law, Korean adoptees were considered orphans at the time of their adoption abroad. Therefore, this status exempts adoptees from having to serve in the Korea military. Not all adoptees were adopted though on so-called "orphan family registries".

Benefits of Dual Citizenship
By granting the right to dual citizenship status to Korean adoptees the Korean government could set a new and very important precedence affecting hundreds of thousands of international adoptees worldwide. Korea was the pioneer in creating the international adoption program and setting the standards for such a successful program. It can retain and improve upon such status now, in the present day, by changing its laws to consider adoptees as legal national Koreans. Korean adoptees represent a new type of Global Korean by speaking many different languages and having the cultural knowledge of the countries they were adopted to. Consequently, the introduction of dual citizenship for Korean adoptees would benefit Korean society by greatly increasing the level of Korea on a global level and in terms of multiculturalism. 

In addition, dual citizenship would benefit Korean adoptees on an emotional and symbolic level, by giving them a larger and more complete sense of belonging. Examples of how dual citizenship is currently affecting the lives of today's well-known people in public affairs include California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (holds both Austrian and American citizenship) and French Minister of Justice and Mayor of Paris' 7th arrondissement Rachida Dati (citizen of France and Morocco). Ms. Dati is a of the successful integration of the North African community in France. These examples prove that the presence of citizens holding dual nationality can be an asset for the country, especially for a country like Korea who values the quality of its community.

Campaign Advisors
This campaign was supported by an advisory board consisting of Lee Jong-hoon (President of the Institute of Governance and Management, Ph.d in Political Science) and Professor Lee Chulwoo (Yonsei University, Ph.d in Law). Their knowledge was and still is invaluable to the campaign. Also supporting this campaign are members of the Korean National Assembly, Congressman Kim Chung-hwan, and Congressman Kim Sung Gon.

 

Campaign related documents (English)
 Information Package (2008/05/15)
 Sign sheet (2008/05/15)
 Script for Public Hearing (2009/08/25)

Korean Ministry of Justice: Survey on Dual Nationality
 
Announcement and international distribution of survey (2008/06/11)
 
Cover Letter (2008/06/11)
 
Questionnaire (2008/06/11)

 Revised Bill for Korean Nationality Act (Partly) (2009/06/..) English Translation by G.O.A.'L 

Press releases
 Multiple Citizenship for Korean Adoptees! G.O.A.'L welcomes suggested law proposal by Ministry of Justice (2009/05/21)
 Dual Citizenship for Korean Adoptees! G.O.A.'L initiates Global Campaign for Dual Citizenship (2008/05/15)

Related news articles
 May 22, 2009, Benefits of double citizenship to lesen
 March 26, 2009, Foreigners to Get Dual Citizenship
 Dec. 30, 2008, Ministry paves way to allow dual citizenship