The New Army Law And How It Affects Idols Who Are Dual Nationality And Overseas Koreans
The Korean government released news on June 6, 2021, regarding the national service laws and guidelines for Korean nationals born overseas. According to the new laws, Korean nationals that are born off Korean soil will still have to serve in the Korean military, should they have spent 3 years or more in Korea.
For a clearer picture, even if one is born overseas, as long as they hold a Korean passport, they are deemed as a Korean national. This includes Korean citizens that possess long-term residential passes (permanent resident) in overseas countries. While previously, Korean citizens that spend extended periods of time living overseas are exempted from service on the basis that adaptation to Korean culture and hierarchy would be difficult, the new law orders such citizens to enlist should they return to Korea for 3 years or more after their time overseas.
On the other hand, for Korean ethnicities born overseas, possessing a non-Korean passport, they are deemed as foreigners and will not need to serve. This includes idols such as NCT‘s Mark and Johnny, THE BOYZ‘s Jacob and Kevin.
As for idols that possess dual citizenship, according to Korean law, when they turn 18, men have to choose if they wish to continue possessing their dual citizenship or not. In the case where they wish to maintain dual citizenship, they need to serve in the Korean army. However, if they do not wish to serve, they have to give up Korean citizenship.
Many idols that have already made their choice include SEVENTEEN‘s Vernon and Stray Kids‘ Bang Chan and Felix. Bang Chan and Felix are currently listed as single nationality (Australian) on their Namuwiki profiles, while Vernon is still under dual citizenship. It is likely that Vernon will have to serve in the military.
Meanwhile, ENHYPHEN‘s Jake still possesses dual citizenship and is currently 18 years old. It is likely he had privately made a choice. His public profile on Namuwiki currently still states dual citizenship but it is too early to tell as 18-year-olds are only required to choose by March of the same year.
Jay‘s case is similar as they are both born in 2002. Jay, however, is currently 19 years old as his birthday has passed. It is likely Jay would be serving as his profile states dual citizenship as well.