There are a lot of American citizen services we can plan for and to some degree expect: passport renewals, questions about federal benefits or taxes, Consular Reports of Death Abroad, notary services… When you contact us for assistance or make an appointment to come to the embassy, we are happy to help you out. But there are other times that we might need to contact you, and we’re asking for help in making sure we know how to reach you. If you’ve been to our website, our Facebook page, our embassy, or our outreach events, you’ll know this isn’t the first time we’re asking you to register with the embassy, and you can bet it won’t be the last time.
2011 was a year full of surprises, with unexpected events that affected Americans overseas including the uprisings in Libya and Egypt and the “triple disaster” earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown in Japan. In all of these cases, U.S. Embassy officers were able to contact American citizens living in those countries to relay important emergency information about evacuations, and to check on their welfare and whereabouts. We relied heavily on contact information collected through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and without updated contact records we would never have been so successful in our mission.
Assisting Americans during emergencies is our most important responsibility, and since we can’t predict when crises will happen, we ask that all Americans living in Korea help in our planning by taking a few minutes to register with STEP so that we can reach you if necessary. If you have already registered, check to make sure your contact information is current. We may never have to contact you, but it’s better to have your information and not need it than to need it and not have it. The reality is, a crisis will strike when we least expect it. Registering with STEP is something simple we can all do now, to be as prepared as possible. Please direct your browser to asktheconsul.org and register with STEP today! While you’re at asktheconsul.org, enter your email address and cell phone number in the appropriate fields to receive our monthly newsletter and other messages throughout the year.