On July 11, singer Yoo Seung Jun and his family cried tears of joy upon hearing the Supreme Court’s ruling that it was unlawful for Yoo to be denied a visa to enter South Korea.
Yoo’s attorney stated that “Yoo Seung Jun and his entire family were in tears after hearing the ruling.”
After losing the first and second trials, Yoo and his family reportedly were not expecting such a ruling. According to his attorney, the once popular singer still regrets his decision from 17 years ago to evade the country’s mandatory military service. “Yoo Seung Jun still feels apologetic about disappointing the Korean citizens with his decision. Although there were circumstances that he couldn’t discuss at the time, he still feels truly sorry for what happened,” said Yoo’s attorney.
Regarding the lawsuit filed by Yoo against the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles over the refusal to grant a visa to Yoo, the Supreme Court of Korea ruled that the original decision would be annulled and ordered the case to be returned to the Seoul High Court to be retried.
Citing the current Overseas Koreans Act, which stipulates that F-4 status can be denied to those who have renounced their Korean citizenship in order to evade mandatory military service up until the age of 38; and the Immigration Control Act, which states that even in the case of foreigners who have committed a crime in the Republic of Korea, entry to the country can only be denied for up to five years; the Supreme Court ruled that the government’s decision to deny Yoo’s entry to Korea was unlawful.
Yoo Seung Jun became a national sensation when he burst on to the Korean music scene in 1997 with a string of hit songs such as “Nightmare,” “Na Na Na,” “Love Song,” “Passion,” and “I’ll Be Back.” However, Yoo found himself wrapped up in an enormous controversy when he renounced his Korean citizenship and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in January 2002 in order to dodge compulsory military service. As a result, the Ministry of Justice banned him from entering the country, and Yoo has been unable to set foot in Korea for the past 17 years.
Yoo Seung Jun submitted an application for an F-4 Visa – a visa granted to foreign citizens of Korean heritage – to the Korean consulate general in LA in 2015. When his application was denied, Yoo filed a lawsuit against the consulate. He, however, ended up losing both the first trial that opened in 2016 and the second trial in 2017. The justice department explained at the time that “there [was] concern that officers and men of the armed forces would be demoralized if Yoo Seung Joon were to be allowed re-entry,” and that they “[recognized] the necessity and reasonability of the government’s decision to not set a duration for the entry ban.”