We learned that this is the first program by any country that will allow adoptees to reclaim their citizenship in their birth country. It's a great first step in recognizing adoptees as citizens of the country, even though they were sent abroad many years ago.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to getting the dual citizenship. A few of the major advantages (at least from my perspective) were:
- being recognized by Korea as an equal citizen
- ability to vote in elections -- which would, of course, be contingent upon my Korean getting much, much better
- any children Mark and I had would be allowed to be dual citizens as well (though for males, they WOULD be required to serve in the military... so we probably wouldn't go that route)
- Mark would qualify for the F2 visa, rather than the E2 visa -- so should we ever come back to Korea, high-paying jobs would be abundant for him. Seriously, all the good jobs around here seem to be for F2 visa holders.
- And as a Korea citizenship, adopting from Korea would probably be easier (and hopefully cheaper). Actually -- Mark read that this is the first year that domestic adoptions in Korea outpaced international adoptions. That is mainly because the Korean government is really tightening up on international adoptions. They actually want to completely eliminate international adoptions by 2012. Who knows if that'll actually happen, but my being a citizenship would open a LOT more doors in that area.
The main disadvantages I saw were:
- Since this is such a new program, there are still a lot of open ends and unanswered questions about some of the particulars.
- I will have to sign a pledge to only use my Korean citizenship within Korea. So, services from the U.S. consulate and embassy would be unavailable to me when I am in Korea. That point was of concern to me, but having an American husband would allow me access to these services should I ever need them. (And I haven't yet.)
- Oh and along with only using my Korean citizenship... once I became a dual citizen, the casinos will be closed to me. It's odd -- there are a couple casinos here, but they're for foreigners only and Korean citizens are not allowed to go. I told Mark before I start this process, I want to go check it out. Or it'll be something I'll always be curious about, just because I can't go. :)
- My Korean passport will show my Korean name and my American passport will show my English name. They have said there could be some issues with airline tickets and general confusion with paperwork initially.
- And this is a small factor -- but the general headache of all the paperwork, etc. that will go with changing this. Government agencies in Korea are so confusing to me.
A couple additional points I learned, were:
- To apply for dual citizenship, you need to do it from within Korea. The whole process should supposedly take 5-6 months. But there were unanswered questions about whether it's necessary to stay in Korea for the entire process.
- We can actually fill out an application now! I guess the magical January 1, 2011 date signifies when they will begin declaring people dual citizens.
Wow, so much information. If this process applies to you, I wouldn't rely on this. This is what I heard and what mattered the most to me. There's a really good link on GOA'L's website here that you can check out for more information.