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Some Substantial and Procedural Issues of Naturalization in the Nationality Act of 2018

  • Public Land Law Review
  • Abbr : KPLLR
  • 2019, 87(), pp.409-430
  • Publisher : Korean Public Land Law Association
  • Research Area : Social Science > Law
  • Received : July 31, 2019
  • Accepted : August 20, 2019
  • Published : August 27, 2019

Hyonsoo Lee 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The amendment of the Nationality Act in 2017 has led to major changes in the substantive as well as procedural requirements of naturalization. Permanent residence status requirement is added to the traditional requirements for natualization, such as at least five years residence, good moral character, economic viability and civics knowledge including linguistic aptitude. Meanwhile, permanent residence and naturalization have several requirements in common. Good moral character, economic viability and civics knowledge are required for permanent residence status as well as naturalization. In order to assess the impact of the amendment of the Act, it should be discussed on the desirable relationship of the qualifications for permanent resident status and those for naturalization. Nationality Regulation 2018 requires absence of certain criminal records of the applicant alien as to the good moral character, it needs to be discussed whether or not the same standard should be required to be met by the applicant of permanent residence status. As to the economic viability, fixed amount of assets is required by the Nationality Act, instead of giving guidelines on various factors of consideration. It will be more helpful to give clear guideline on factors for the transparency and predictability of public authority’s decision making. As to the civics knowledge requirement, it is necessary to discuss whether the basic literacy standard as a socio-cultural community member and that as a member of a political community should be different or not, and if so, where can the dividing point should be found. Ceremonial elements such as oath of allegiance and certificate award is introduced by the new amendment. Strictly speaking, oath of allegiance is merely procedural ornament, certificate award is the indication of state’s willingness to accept the applicant as a fellow citizen. In a situation where practical benefits of the naturalization is not significantly greater than those of the permant residence status, the amendment of law reinforcing substantive and procedural requirements of naturalization is likely to set further barrier against a willingness of naturalization by foreigners.

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