Some ethnically Korean westerners unknowingly have dual Korean citizenship. Most Korean adoptees automatically have dual citizenship if they were born in Korea; however, it’s still possible to have dual citizenship if you were born in a western country and are not an adoptee.
Korean Immigration recently changed their visa issuing policies for western English teachers so it’s important for Gyopo teachers (Korean westerners) to speak with the Korean Consulate to determine their status.
What you need to do
Contact the Korean Consulate in your jurisdiction and tell them that you need to know if you’re listed on the Korean National Registry for dual citizenship. The Consulate will likely need you to provide some supporting documentation to verify whether or not you have dual status. Most consulates will likely require the following information:
1. Your place and date of birth
2. Your parents place and date of birth and their current citizenship status
3. Your immigration details (if you were born outside of your current country of residence
4. Additional information about your parents and grandparents may also be requested
What happens if I don’t have dual citizenship?
What happens if I do have dual citizenship?
If you have deal citizenship then you’ll need to make one of the following decisions:
1. Officially renounce your Korean citizenship with the consulate. You’ll likely need to sign some forms at the consulate in order to renounce your Korean citizenship.
2. If you want to teach in Korea and you don’t want to renounce your Korean citizenship then you will need to apply for your Korean passport.
What are the advantages of having dual Korean citizenship?
+ Employment opportunities in Korea (you can live and work as a real Korean citizen)
+ Entitlement to social programs, such as education, health care, and pensions
+ Property ownership
+ Unrestricted residency
+ Personal ties to more than one country
What are the disadvantages of having dual Korean citizenship?
+ If you enter Korea on a Korean passport then you will be subject to all law’s that would otherwise not apply to you as a traveller or westerner on an English teaching visa.
+ Although unlikely, male teachers with dual citizenship could be required to report for military service. This is something that could easily be addressed by the consulate prior to entering Korea.
+ You may have tax obligations in both countries. We advise teachers entering Korea with dual citizenship to speak with a financial adviser before departing.
+ It’s possible that you could face increased scrutiny by immigration and customs officials in Korea and your country of citizenship if you’re travelling with more than one passport.