The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling in favor of Korean-American singer Steve Yoo, who filed to reverse the denial of an entry visa for renouncing his South Korean citizenship to evade mandatory military duty.
According to judicial sources, the top court confirmed July's appellate ruling that visas should be denied for men who renounce their citizenship to evade conscription up to the age of 38 in light of the absence of concern over security, public order, and diplomatic relations.
The court specified the age due to its demarcation as the threshold after which military duty is exempted under the law.
While the overseas Korean law, revised in 2018, stipulates that the issuance of visas for those who dodged military service requires recognition of a necessity by the justice minister, the court said the law prior to the revision should be applied to Yoo.
After receiving his draft notice, Yoo obtained U.S. citizenship while visiting in January 2002, after which the justice ministry barred his entry to South Korea.
In 2015, Yoo filed a reversal suit against the South Korean Consulate General in Los Angeles after it refused to issue him a visa. While the Supreme Court ruled in Yoo's favor five years later, the Consulate General rejected his second visa application, citing concern over national interests.
Following Yoo's second court victory on Thursday, an official at Seoul's foreign ministry said the government respects the court's decision and that related ministries plan to take necessary steps through consultation.