Court upholds ruling in favor of singer Yoo over visa issuance

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an appellate court’s ruling in favor of Steve Yoo, a Korean American singer, in a lawsuit he filed to reverse the South Korean government’s decision to deny him an entry visa for renouncing his

Korean citizenship to evade mandatory military service.

The Seoul High Court ruled in July that even if a South Korean man renounces his citizenship in order to dodge military service, it would be too much to deny him a visa even after he turns 38 years old, the threshold after which the military service requirement is exempted under the law.

Yoo, also known by his Korean name Yoo Seung-jun, was barred from entering South Korea after he became a U.S. citizen and renounced his Korean citizenship in 2002, with the alleged goal of dodging his military duty.

Yoo first filed a lawsuit in 2015 after the South Korean Consulate General in Los Angeles refused to issue him a visa. In 2020, Yoo won a Supreme Court ruling that the visa refusal was procedurally flawed. After the top court’s ruling, Yoo applied again for a visa to enter Korea, but the consulate general again turned it down, prompting Yoo to file a second suit in 2020 to reverse the decision.

With the Supreme Court’s latest decision, the government should reconsider whether to issue a visa for Yoo. If the visa is finally issued in accordance with the court ruling, Yoo will be able to visit South Korea for the first time in about 20 years.






The Korea Times Co.