“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.

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

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.


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.


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 ( https://kr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports) 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!

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.

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

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.

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

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.