Saturday Evening Demonstrations on Gwanghwamun Plaza

United States Embassy Seoul, Republic of Korea
Security Message for U.S. Citizens:
Saturday Evening Demonstrations on Gwanghwamun Plaza
Date:  November 23, 2016

U.S. Embassy Seoul informs U.S. citizens that various organizations under the umbrella name of the People’s Action Group have announced plans to continue to stage large-scale rallies centered on Gwanghwamun Plaza (across from the U.S. Embassy) to include the area between Seoul City Hall and Gyeongbokgung Palace. Rallies have been scheduled for Saturday evenings, commencing at 6:00 p.m. and concluding at 9:00 p.m.; however, crowds are expected to gather before that time and demonstrations may continue past midnight. Korean authorities anticipate that participants supporting these rallies may number well over 100,000.

The People’s Action Group has called for the next rally on November 26, 2016. The Republic of Korea (ROK) is a modern democracy with active public political participation, and political demonstrations are common. Demonstrations of all types occur regularly throughout Seoul and other Korean cities. However, the large size and location of the Saturday demonstrations on Gwanghwamun Plaza will result in congestion and road closings in the area.

There have been no reports of violence at the Saturday rallies to date. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence, however. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at the State Department’s website. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Monitor the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution on the State Department’s website.  Read the Country Specific Information for Republic of Korea . For additional information, refer to the ”Traveler’s Checklist”.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S.

federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul is located at 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., telephone 02 397-4000. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance outside of business hours, the emergency after-hours number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is 02 397-4114.

 

 

No Eyeglasses Policy for Passport Photos

PrintEffective November 1, we will no longer accept passport photos in which the applicant is wearing glasses. This applies to minors and adults. You do not need to replace your current passport if your photo includes eyeglasses. New passport applications submitted with photos that do not meet requirements could delay applications and interfere with travel plans.

Social Security Numbers Required on Passport Applications

As of October 1, 2016, all U.S. citizens applying for a passport will be required to include their Social Security number on their application form. U.S. citizens who were never issued a Social Security number can apply for one along with the passport application or sign a sworn statement declaring that they have never applied for a number. To submit a first-time Social Security application, you will need to have one form of valid U.S. government-issued identification. You can find the SS-5 application and instructions at this link. If you have a number but do not remember it, contact the Social Security Administration (FBU.Manila@ssa.gov) BEFORE submitting your passport application. This new policy applies to routine passport services and will not prevent emergency travel to the United States.

NOTE: Applicants without an SSN will no longer be able to mail or courier their DS-82 (adult renewals) and DS-5504 (e.g. limited passport replacement) forms to the Embassy. Please make an appointment to be interviewed in person.

USAG Yongsan Outreach Services

Seoul logoPlease note the following days when outreach at Yongsan Base will be closed:

  • September 14, 2016 (Chusok holidays)
  • October 5, 2016

Consular Services Outreach in Kunsan Air Base on July 14 and July 15, 2016

Seoul logo

Don’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul? We will offer American citizen services in Kunsan Air Base on July 14, 2016 from 13:00-16:30 and July 15, 2016 from 9:00-11:30 at the Loring Club Ballroom building #1025, Ballroom 1&2.  Please note that these services are reserved for applicants who have or can secure base access.

An appointment is required for all services.  To schedule an appointment, please call DSN 782-5283 or 7308 or 6798, or visit MPS (Military Personnel Section) building #755, Customer Support Room 119.  

Q: Can I get married to a same-sex spouse in Korea?

A: The Republic of Korea (ROK) government does not recognize same-sex marriages, even if those marriages are legally-recognized and performed in other countries, such as the United States.

Important Notice for Social Security/Federal Benefit Check Recipients

UntitledIf you receive paper check for your Social Security or other federal benefit payments, you will need to switch to electronic payments.  The U. S. Department of the Treasury requires that all federal benefit payments be made electronically.  Paper check recipients will need to fill out the Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form (SF-1199) and mail or email it to the address below by April 1, 2016.  A sample instruction page can be found here.

If you have any questions or need assistance, email us at Seoul_ACS@state.gov.

Direct Deposit Team

U.S. Embassy Seoul
American Citizen Services
188 Sejong-daero, Jongro-gu
Seoul, Korea 03141

Email: Seoul_ACS@state.gov
Phone: 02-397-4267 (2pm – 4pm)

DO NOT BRING YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES TO THE EMBASSY

no electronic

Electronic devices such as cameras, cell phones, laptops, and MP3 players may not be brought inside the Embassy.  Please leave these items at home or make arrangements for their storage before arriving at the Embassy.  Doing so will result in speedier processing into the Embassy.  The Embassy has no capacity to store your devices.

 

Yongsan Outreach Services

Please note the following days when outreach at Yongsan Base will be closed or half-day service only.

  • November 11 : Veterans’ Day – CLOSED
  • November 25 : Thanksgiving – CLOSED
  • December 2 : Morning ONLY
  • December 16 : Morning ONLY
  • December 23, 30, January 6 – Christmas & New Year’s Break – CLOSED

Consular Services Outreach in Chinhae on Monday, 17 August, 2015

Seoul logo//

Don’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul? We will offer American citizen services in Chinhae on 17 August, 2015 (Monday)- Fleet Activity Chinhae Consular Services from 13:00-16:30.  These services are for those with base access ONLY.

Please call DSN 762-5385 to make an appointment. Sign-up sheets will also be available outside of the FFTC Classroom (Bldg# 711).  For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_off-site.html

Consular Services Outreach in Daegu on Thursday and Friday, September 10-11, 2015

Seoul logo

Don’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul? We will offer American citizen services in Daegu on September 10 (1:00pm-4:30pm) and September 11 (9:00am-1:00pm), 2015. To schedule an appointment, please email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov.  For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_off-site.html

Consular Services Outreach in Busan Tuesday and Wednesday, August 18-19, 2015

Seoul logo

Don’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul? We will offer American citizen services in Busan on August 18 (9:00am to 4:30pm) and August 19 (9:00am-11:30am), 2015. To schedule an appointment, please email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov.  For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_off-site.html

Summer is here … but am I ready to travel?

Tickets to an exotic, fun destination?
Swimsuit, iPad, sunscreen?
Necessary vaccinations? Not sure …
Passport valid for another 6 months and sufficient empty visa pages? Huh?

All too often, Embassy Seoul receives calls from anxious American citizens who are stuck at Incheon International Airport. The stories are similar and often go something like this:

 “John” is traveling from Seoul to Thailand with non-refundable tickets for a dream vacation, but the airline denied him boarding. “Mary” is traveling from Los Angeles to Manila with a layover in Seoul, but was prevented from boarding her continuing flight to the Philippines.

Both passengers are carrying valid U.S. passports. So what’s the problem? Their passports are expiring too soon (in less than 6 months). Or, their passport visa pages are too full and have no space for entry stamps for their destinations.

These visitors learned the hard way that many countries in Asia and around the world will not permit travelers to enter unless their passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their intended departure. These countries include — but are not limited to — Thailand, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia. These same countries also require visitors to have at least one blank visa page in their passport. A handful of countries go a step further: China, Singapore and Indonesia (specifically Bali) require visitors to have at least two remaining blank visa pages in their passport.

Step-by-step guide to a fun summer vacation

Before packing your sunscreen and swimsuit, it’s important to carefully check your passport, especially the expiration date. Don’t let your travel plans get delayed by poor planning. If you discover your passport is expiring soon, visit the Embassy Seoul website (http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_us_passports.html) for information on renewing your passport. We recommend U.S. citizens renew their passport no later than 7 months before the expiration date. We can normally renew your passport in 2-3 weeks, so your valid passport won’t become invalid.

The next step is to check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting. Begin by visiting Travel.State.Gov (http://travel.state.gov). Next, type in the name of the country you are visiting in the “Learn about your destination” box. The first item you’ll see are any Travel Alerts or Travel Warnings pertaining to that country. Below under “Quick Facts” is a summary of entry and exit requirements. In addition to passport validity and visa page requirements, you’ll also learn whether your destination country requires a visa or vaccinations.

Below the “Quick Facts” box, take a few minutes to read through the Country Specific Information (CSI), which includes important information about your destination country such as U.S. Embassy and Consulates contact information, security & safety concerns, local laws, LGBT travel and more.

If you follow these steps, you can plan ahead and have a fun summer!

US EMBASSY CLOSURES

US EMBASSY CLOSURES FROM MAY 1 TH TO MAY 5TH: US Embassy Seoul will be CLOSED from Friday, May 1 (Korean Labor Day) to Tuesday, May 5 (Korean Children’s Day).  The American Citizen Services (ACS) section is open on Monday, May 4 but we are only accepting emergency appointments on that day.

Consular Services Outreach in Daegu on Thursday and Friday, June 18-19, 2015

Seoul logoDon’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul? We will offer American citizen services in Daegu on June 18  (1:00pm-4:30pm) and June 19 (9:00am-12:30pm), 2015. To schedule an appointment, please email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov.  For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_off-site.html

Consular Services Outreach in Busan Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, May 27-29, 2015

Seoul logoDon’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul? We will offer American citizen services in Busan on May 27  (1:00pm-4:30pm), May 28 (9:00am to 4:30pm), and May 29 (9:00am-11:30am), 2015. To schedule an appointment, please email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov.  For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_off-site.html

Happy Lunar New Year!

The Embassy is closed on Wednesday ~ Friday, February 18~ 20 in
observance of the Korean Lunar New Year. We will reopen for regular business hours on Monday, February 23.

We will provide half-day services at Yongsan on March 4, 2015.

Seoul logo

We will provide half-day services only (from 9:00am-11:30am) at Yongsan on March 4, 2015.

Did you submit a Social Security number application for your child at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea? Please see below for the answers to some of the questions we receive most frequently to better understand the Social Security number (SSN) application process.

SSA
Q: Will my child’s SSN application be processed at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea?

No, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul is not a Social Security claims-processing post. Once we have received a Social Security application, we will then forward it to the Social Security Administration (SSA) office in Manila for processing.

Q: How long will it take to process a Social Security card and where will it be mailed?

A: It may take 3-6 months or longer for applicants to receive an actual Social Security card from the SSA office. When a Social Security number (SSN) is assigned to the applicant, a SSN card will be mailed directly to the address provided on the SSN application.

Q: Can the U.S. Embassy check the status of my child’s application?

A: No, once we have forwarded SSN applications to the SSA office in Manila, we have no access to SSN application records. If you wish to check the status of your child’s application, we suggest you wait about 3 months from the date you submitted the application and then directly contact the SSA office in Manila to inquire about the SSN application status. Their contact information is below:

Social Security Administration
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Ermita, 0930 Manila
Philippines

Email: FBU.Manila@ssa.gov
Phone Number: (63)(2)301-2000

Q: I know I must wait about 3-6 months to receive a SSN card. However, is there any way for me to know the SSN before the card is mailed to us? If so, how long does it take for us to be allocated a SSN and whom should we contact to find out the assigned number?

A: In general, it will take about 2-3 months for the Social Security Administration (SSA) office to allocate an SSN to an individual. If it has been more than 3 months, you may directly contact the SSA office to find out the assigned SSN number.

Q: I’ve already contacted the Social Security office to inquire about the Social Security number (SSN) assigned to my child and was told that they sent my child’s SSN information to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. Where should I contact to find out my child’s SSN?

A: Please send an email to SeoulinfoACS@state.gov with your child’s full name and date of birth. We will check our records and reply to you with further instructions. If your child’s SSN has been forwarded to our office, you will have to make a personal appearance here to retrieve the number as it is not possible to send it via telephone, fax or email due to security and privacy considerations.

Consular Services Outreach in Daegu, Thursday and Friday, March 12-13, 2015

Seoul logo

Don’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul?  We will offer American citizen services in Daegu on March 12 and March 13, 2015.  To schedule an appointment, call us at 02-397-4114 or email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov. For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_outreach.html.

Consular Services Outreach in Busan, Thursday and Friday, February 26-27, 2015

Seoul logoDon’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul? We will offer American citizen services in Busan on February 26 (1:00pm-5:00pm) and February 27 (9:00 am to 1:00pm), 2015. To schedule an appointment, call us at 02-397-4114 or email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov. For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_off-site.html

Consular Services Outreach in DaeGu, Thursday and Friday, December 11-12, 2014

Please note that the Consular Services dates in Daegu have been changed from December 18 and 19 to December 11 and 12.  To schedule an appointment, call us at 02-397-4114 or email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov. For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_outreach.html.

 

Consular Services Outreach in DaeGu, Thursday and Friday, December 11-12, 2014

Seoul logoDon’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul?  We will offer American citizen services in DaeGu on December 18 and December 19, 2014.  To schedule an appointment, call us at 02-397-4114 or email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov. For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_outreach.html.

How or where do I report a missing payment check?

Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Seoul is not a Social Security claims-processing post. The Social Security Administration’s regional office is located in Manila, Philippines. If you have not received a check by the date on which it usually comes, please wait until the end of that month. If you have not received it by the end of the month, you should notify the Social Security Administration in Manila of the non-receipt of the check by email. Their email address is FBU.manila@ssa.gov. When sending an email, include the following information.

• Name of beneficiary and claim number or Social Security Number
• The month of benefit payment you did not receive
• Current address
• Contact information such as telephone number or email

Happy Chuseok Holidays!

US EMBASSY CLOSURES FOR CHUSEOK HOLIDAY: US Embassy Seoul will be CLOSED from Saturday, Sept. 6 to Wednesday, Sept. 10 for Chusok (Korean Thanksgiving). The Embassy will close early at 2pm on Friday, Sept. 5. Additionally, we will NOT be offering our usual Wednesday outreach services at Yongsan Army Garrison on Sept. 10. Continue reading

Consular Services Outreach in Busan, Monday and Tuesday, November 17-18, 2014

Seoul logoDon’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul? We will offer American citizen services in Busan on November 17 and November 18, 2014. To schedule an appointment, call us at 02-397-4114 or email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov. For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_outreach.html.

CONSULAR FEE CHANGES

Effective September 12, 2014, Consular service fees will be changing for certain nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applications, immigrant visa (IV) applications, administrative and American Citizen Services (ACS) fees. The specific fees affecting American Citizen Services are:

Fee for:

— Consular Time: from $231 to $135

— Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship: from $450 to $2,350

For more details and a list of fee changes, please visit http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/231128.htm

New Change for Korean F-6 visa applicants

As of July 21, 2014, U.S. citizens are no longer required to provide a “Marriage Letter” from U.S. Embassy Seoul when applying for a Korean F-6 visa due to his/her marriage to a Korean citizen, according to the Korean Immigration Service. As long as you can prove that you were lawfully married in Korea by submitting the Korean Marriage Registration Certificate issued by a Ward Office, you should be able to apply to change your Korean visa status at any Korea Immigration Office.  As a result, U.S. Embassy Seoul will no longer provide this letter to U.S. citizens.

American Citizen Services (ACS) Announcement

The Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with our passport/visa system.  This issue is worldwide and is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category. We apologize to applicants who are experiencing delays or are unable to obtain a passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or visa at this time. We are working urgently to correct the problem and expect our system to be fully operational again soon.

Consular Services Outreach in Daegu, Monday and Tuesday, September 15-16, 2014

Seoul logoDon’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul?  We will offer American citizen services in Daegu on September 15  and September 16, 2014.  To schedule an appointment, call us at 02-397-4114 or email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov. For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_outreach.html.

 

 

 

What are developmental photos?

Develpment photo sample

Pop Quiz: Are the children in the 2 photos the same person?

As a child grows older, he or she changes significantly to the point where their face no longer resembles their previous passport photo.  This is especially true if the last passport was issued when the child was an infant.  As a result, it is often very difficult to recognize that the applicant and the person in the previous passport photo are one and the same person.

For that reason, we request the parents bring photos that show the physical development of their child since their last passport was issued. We suggest that you submit at least one photo from every year since the last passport was issued. Failure to do so may result in delay of issuing your child’s passport until you can provide such photos.

Development photos may also apply to first time adult passport applicants.  Adults can change too!  If you’ve had a dramatic change in appearance since your last passport photo – such as a significant weight loss or plastic surgery – the consular officer may request that you present developmental photos or other documentation.

All development photos will be returned to the parents/applicants.  Please do not bring photos on your phone or other mobile device; electronic devices are not permitted in the consular waiting room.

Answer: The 2 photos are the same person! Surprised?  This is why we need development photos.

 

Consular Services Outreach in Busan, Monday and Tuesday, August 25-26, 2014

Seoul logo

Don’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul?  We will offer American citizen services in Busan on August 25 (1:00 pm- 5:00 pm) and August 26 (9:00 am to 1:00 pm), 2014.  To schedule an appointment, call us at 02-397-4114 or email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov. For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_outreach.html.

Traffic Advisory on Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TRAFFIC ADVISORY: On Wednesday, June 18, the Republic of Korea will play Russia in a World Cup match, 06:30am – 09:00am. More than 20,000 football fans are expected at a viewing party that will be set up in Gwanghwamun Plaza, directly in front of US Embassy Seoul. Expect heavy traffic congestion and road closures in and around the area. Consular applicants should allow extra time to arrive at the Embassy. Visitors are strongly advised to use the metro (subway) as vehicles will likely be diverted. There is NO public parking at US Embassy Seoul.

Information Session with Korean Immigration Services

KIS
ACS hosted senior officials with the Korea Immigration Service (KIS) at the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday, June 11.  The KIS representatives gave a presentation on the KIS organizational structure and policies, and also engaged in a lengthy Q&A session addressing a wide array of immigration issues, including Korean visa and residence policies, immigration enforcement, and progress on addressing a variety of complicated issues that have arisen as a result of the dramatic increase in foreign visitors and residents in Korea over the past 30 years.  Attendees included various U.S. governmental agencies as well as consular representatives from Canada and New Zealand.  These types of bilateral exchanges help ACS better serve the local American citizen community, all of whom have at least some interaction with KIS during their time in Korea.

A meeting with the Director of the National Child Protection Agency

KNPC
On Tuesday, June 3, ACS staff met with the Director of the National Child Protection Agency (NCPA), which was founded in 2001 by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.  The NCPA provided an overview of child welfare issues in Korea and briefed ACS members on  its role in helping to prevent, protect against, and offer assistance to the victims of child abuse and neglect. Afterward, representatives from the NCPA and ACS engaged them in a lively and illuminating discussion of the differences in child welfare laws and governmental resources available in the U.S. and Korea, and possible avenues of cooperation between the two groups.  This cooperation is essential to our ability to assist American children who may be suffering from abuse or neglect in a foreign and sometimes completely unfamiliar environment.

American Citizen Services Appreciation Day 2014

ACS_appreciation2014

More than 45 guests from various government organizations and other agencies attended the annual ACS appreciation event on May 21, 2014.  Consul General Paul Boyd welcomed the guests with warm remarks and handed certificates to each recipient.  All participants promptly helped US citizens in need with their knowledge and expertise.  Most of these cases not only involved a criminal, legal, or medical matter, but also the safe and orderly repatriation of an American Citizen back to the U.S.  The appreciation day was quite successful in terms of maintaining strong relationships with crucial contacts and showing them our gratitude.

When a Valid Passport Isn’t Really Valid

state.travel websiteAll too often, Embassy Seoul receives calls from anxious American citizens who are stuck at Incheon International Airport.  The stories are similar and often go something like this: “John” is traveling from Seoul to Thailand with non-refundable tickets for a dream vacation, but the airline denied him boarding. “Mary” is traveling from Los Angeles to Manila with a layover in Seoul, but was prevented from boarding her continuing flight to the Philippines. Both passengers are carrying valid U.S. passports. So what’s the problem?  Their passports are expiring too soon. Or, their passport visa pages are too full.

These visitors learned the hard way that many countries in Asia and around the world will not permit travelers to enter unless their passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their intended departure.  These countries include — but are not limited to — Thailand, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia.  These same countries also require visitors to have at least one blank visa page in their passport.  A handful of countries go a step further:  China, Singapore and Indonesia (specifically Bali) require visitors to have at least two remaining blank visa pages in their passport.

Before packing your sunscreen and swimsuit, it’s important to carefully check your passport, especially the expiration date.  The next step is to check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting.  Begin by visiting Travel.State.Gov (http://travel.state.gov).  Next, type in the name of the country you are visiting in the “Learn about your destination” box. The first item you’ll see are any Travel Alerts or Travel Warnings pertaining to that country. Below under “Quick Facts” is a summary of entry and exit requirements. In addition to passport validity and visa page requirements, you’ll also learn whether your destination country requires a visa or vaccinations.

Below the “Quick Facts” box, take a few minutes to read through the Country Specific Information (CSI), which includes important information about your destination country such as U.S. Embassy and Consulates contact information, security & safety concerns, local laws, LGBT travel and more.

Don’t let your travel plans get delayed by poor planning. If you discover your passport is expiring soon, visit the Embassy Seoul website (http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_us_passports.html) for information on renewing your passport.  We recommend U.S. citizens renew their passport no later than 7 months before the expiration date. We can normally renew your passport in 2-3 weeks, so your valid passport won’t become invalid.

Consular Services Outreach in Daegu, Monday and Tuesday, June 30-July 1, 2014

Seoul logoDon’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul?  We will offer American citizen services in Daegu on June 30 and July 1, 2014.  To schedule an appointment, email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov or call us at 02-397-4114.  For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_off-site.html.

Information Session with a Korean Police

police_outreach
The Head of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA), Second International Crime Investigative Unit, met with Embassy Consular staff to explain the roles and responsibilities of the Korean police, the investigative processes, foreigner’s rights, and victim assistance.  One of the highlights was the increasing role of the “Tourist Police” in Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, and Itaewon (and other locations) to assist foreign visitors with any problems or issues they may encounter during their visit to Seoul.  Of particular interest was the increasingly proactive role taken by the police toward recognizing and addressing mental health and victim assistance issues. The session was quite informative and helped to increase knowledge and awareness for the Consular staff about the Korean police and the rights of foreigners during the police investigation process.

Consular Services Outreach in Busan, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10-11, 2014

Seoul logoDon’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul?  We will offer American citizen services in Busan on June 10 (9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00pm) and June 11 (9:00 am to 12:00pm), 2014.  To schedule an appointment, call us at 02-397-4114 or email us at seoulinfoACS@state.gov. For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_outreach.html.

Big changes at Embassy Seoul

Seoul logoOn Monday, April 14, the American Citizen Services (ACS) section moved to a new, larger space.  Effective immediately, customers with ACS appointments must enter through the South ‘side’ entrance of the Embassy. ACS (American Citizen Services) customers do not have to stand in the line with the visa applicants.  Come directly to the front of the line and look for the entrance marked for ACS. You may enter the ACS waiting room no earlier than 15 minutes prior to your appointment time.

After passing through security, make an immediate right into the ACS waiting room. The new ACS waiting room and office is twice as large as our old office, featuring more seating areas, a larger children’s play area, and a private nursing area for new mothers!  We look forward to your visit to the new American Citizen Services section.

For public transportation directions to US Embassy Seoul, please click the link below:

http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_directions.html

The old front entrance across Sejong Cultural Center is reserved for Special Consular Services only- which include deaths, arrests, medical, health, and legal issues.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, all Embassy Consular sections are unable to accept credit cards until further notice. We can only accept cash (U.S. dollars or Korean won). We apologize for the inconvenience. 

“Emergency Ready” app for smartphones and tablets

NEMAThe ROK National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) provides an English-language version of its “Emergency Ready” app for smartphones and tablets.  The app is free and allows users to make emergency 119 calls quickly, locate the nearest emergency shelters, watch videos related to CPR, First Aid, etc.  Please consider installing the app on your smartphones/tablets and passing this to family members for their consideration.

 

Do I need to file taxes if I live abroad?

IRS 1040 Tax Form Being Filled Out www.seniorliving.orgMany Americans living abroad are aware that they will have little or no income tax liability, but a large number are unaware that they are still legally required to file their annual tax returns even if no money is owed.

According to the IRS, “the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad.” (see U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.)   This means that all Americans and resident aliens are required to file income tax returns each year, regardless of the income source.  Whether any taxes are actually owed, however, depends on the source(s) of income, amount of income, and length of time living or residing abroad during the tax year.

If you meet certain requirements, you may qualify to exclude foreign earnings up to $97,600 in TY 2013 and/or claim the foreign housing deduction.  Excludable earnings are adjusted annually for inflation, so you will have to remember to check the IRS website or consult with your tax attorney as you prepare to file each year.

The bad news: if you live abroad, but earn income from a U.S. source, you will not qualify for the foreign earnings exclusion.  If you fall into this category, however, you probably are already aware of this and have been filing your returns regularly.

The good news: “If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien residing overseas, or are in the military on duty outside the U.S., on the regular due date of your return, you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension to file your return and pay any amount due without requesting an extension. For a calendar year return, the automatic 2-month extension is to June 15.”  (see U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.)

Depending on your personal situation, filing from abroad could be relatively straightforward or very complex, and you may wish to consult with a tax professional.

Below are more resources that the IRS has made available to Americans living and working abroad:

New US Citizenship Rules Help Birth Mothers

baby's name

Mothers who gave birth to a child overseas with help from an egg donor can transmit citizenship under a new policy from the U.S. State Department.

The change took effect on Jan. 31.  For the first time, birth mothers who are not genetically related to their child can pass on U.S. citizenship.  Birth mothers will be treated the same as genetic mothers for purposes of acquiring citizenship.

The good news for such mothers is that the policy is retroactive.  That means that birth mothers can apply for U.S. citizenship for their children even if their application would have been turned down in the past.

The new policy officially means that both the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security will interpret the definition of “child” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to mean the child of a genetic or a gestational parent.  The baby will be treated as born in wedlock as long as both genetic or gestational parents are married at the time of the child’s birth.

Of course, a few caveats apply. The mother must be the legal parent of the child. And a U.S. consular officer must approve the request for an official birth certificate, known as a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, making sure that all requirements for citizenship are fulfilled.

Great article on the many ways U.S. Embassies help Americans abroad!

See what American Embassies can do for American citizens who live abroad!  Hit this link.
http://m.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/us-embassies-at-your-service-around-the-globe/2014/02/27/26104ff2-82de-11e3-bbe5-6a2a3141e3a9_story.html

Consular Services Outreach in Daegu, Monday and Tuesday April 28-29, 2014

Seoul logoDon’t have time to get to the Embassy in Seoul?  We will offer American citizen services in Daegu on April  28 (12:30pm to 5:00pm) and 29  (9:00 am to 1:00pm), 2014.  To schedule an appointment, call us at 02-397-4114 or email us at seoul_ACS@state.gov. For full details, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_outreach.html

TAX SEASON APPROACHES!

taxI know, it’s not even March, but U.S. residents living abroad often need more time to get their taxes in order.

Did you know U.S. citizens and legal residents living outside the United States are taxed on their worldwide income? The good news is that up to $97,600 of your income is excluded, on top of which, you may be able to deduct certain foreign housing expenses.

Check out this this webpage for more forms and more info:http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Foreign-Earned-Income-Exclusion

AIR QUALITY: Chinese Smog and Dust Roll into Korea

smogWinter cold promotes a rise in coal burning in industrial China, which creates smog that then rolls across the sea into Korea.  Occasionally Korea’s winter skyline is blanketed by this haze (“mise meonji”).  The National Institute of Environmental Research says the smog contains high levels of heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, and expects the smog to become a more frequent problem for Korea.  Warnings of smog have sent sales of face masks soaring, along with detergents that claim to wash away bacteria and heavy metals.  Dustproof windshield wipers and air filters are popular.  To check Korean air quality data, see:  http://www.airkorea.or.kr/airkorea/eng/index.jsp

In the spring, the Yellow Dust (or “hwangsa”) from China’s Gobi Desert blows across northern China, where it can where it can pick up industrial pollution and then blow across the sea into Korea.  Dust concentrations vary greatly from place to place and day to day.  In high concentrations, Yellow Dust can aggravate respiratory illnesses and cause significant irritation to the eyes, throat, and lungs, especially for young children and the elderly.

If Yellow Dust levels exceed 400 micrograms/㎥, the Korea Meteorological Administration will issue an advisory to encourage the elderly, elementary schoolchildren, and those with respiratory illnesses to stay inside, and advising all residents to avoid strenuous outdoor activity.  If Yellow Dust levels exceed 800 micrograms/㎥, the government will issue a warning thatresidents should avoid any unnecessary outdoor activities; schools may be closed, and many outdoor events may be cancelled.  Korea Meteorological Administration provides an excellent English-language chart of yellow dust levels for all provinces and major cities in Korea (be sure to select your city or province from the menu on the top left of the chart).

Happy Lunar New Year!

happy_newYear2The Embassy is closed on Thursday and Friday, January 30 and 31 in observance of the Korean Lunar New Year.   We will reopen for regular business hours on Monday, February 3.

WHAT ABOUT MY SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS WHILE I’M IN KOREA?

SSN_BENEFITSIf you are an U.S. citizen residing in Korea, you may apply for a social security card or replacement card at the Embassy, and we will forward your application to the Social Security Administration’s regional office in Manila.

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul is NOT a Social Security claims-processing post.  For social security claims and other questions, please contact:

Social Security Administration
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Ermita, 0930 Manila
Philippines

Email: FBU.Manila@ssa.gov
Phone Number: (63)(2)301-2000
Fax Number: (63)(2)708-9723/9714

For more details about your Social Security benefits, please refer to the following website: http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_federal.html

“One Cellphone Only” Policy for Access to American Citizen Services

Applicants visiting the Embassy will be allowed to check in only one cell phone and one set of electronic car keys before entering the building.  No other devices will be permitted, and the Embassy has no capacity to store them. Please leave these items at home or make arrangements for their storage before arriving for your appointment.  For more information, please click here.