Every Korean male citizen has a duty of military service as prescribed by the Military Service Act.  Usually, most Korean male undergoes a draft physical examination at the age of 19. And they become exempt from the liability of enlistment from January 1 of the year when he turns into 38.

There were cases that young Koreans traveled abroad and refused to return in an attempt to run away from the conscription. Facing this problem, the Korean government had implemented an overseas travel permit system. It is basically requiring any Korean male with a military duty to obtain a travel permission. Otherwise, they can’t have overseas travel. Violation of this rule results in a criminal conviction in Korea.

This overseas travel permit, however, had created so many careless offenders. Especially those born in or immigrated to a foreign country at an early age was ignorant of this system. In some cases, they were in dual citizenship status, and they don’t think of themselves as Korean. But, the chances are, under Korean citizenship law, they are still under the regulation of the Korean Military Service Act.