Seoul court dismisses request over English name in passport

Seoul, Nov 3 (IANS) A court on Tuesday rejected a complaint demanding the modification of an English name in a person’s passport citing possible degradation of reliability in South Korean identification.

The plaintiff filed a suit against the foreign affairs ministry, which rejected her request to change her English name to “Jeong” instead of “Jung”, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“Since I have long been using ‘Jeong’ to spell my name in and outside South Korea, I have to prove every time I stay abroad that I am the same person as the one in the passport,” she said when filing the case.

The court, however, dismissed the request saying the case does not come under the law that states that names in passports are modifiable when the pronunciation and spelling are not in accord with each other.

“If we lower the barriers in changing English spellings of names, there could be difficulty in the immigration and customs process and could further downgrade the credibility of our passports,” Judge Ho Je-hun said.

In South Korea, English names in passports can be changed only under certain circumstances, such as when the spelling in English clearly has a negative meaning or when the person has been using a different spelling for a long time abroad for work or study.

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