Thirteen Korean adoptees regained their South Korean citizenship on Tuesday but didn’t have to forfeit their foreign nationality in the first case of its kind to happen since a revised immigration law went into effect, the Justice Ministry said.
Kim Dae-won, 43, who was adopted by a family in Switzerland when he was five, and 12 other adoptees were allowed to have double citizenship, the ministry said.
The revised immigration law, which took effect on Jan. 1, allows foreign individuals, including those who have valued expertise and were adopted before they came of age, to hold multiple citizenship if they make a vow to not exercise their rights as foreign nationals while in South Korea.
In the past, the South Korean government required those who hold more than one nationality to choose one when they turn 22, or automatically lose their Korean citizenship. If an adoptee gave up their foreign nationality, it would severe their legal family relationship with their step parents.
The ministry said the Korean adoptees deserve to get their Korean nationality back, because they had no say in the matter when they were adopted.
“We hope that the adoptees settle down here well and take pride in being South Korean,” a ministry official said.