Tag Archives: life in Korea

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.

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:


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

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


illegal drugsA majority of U.S. citizens serving sentences in Korean prisons are doing so for possession of illegal drugs.  The Embassy cannot get involved in Korean police investigations, court prosecutions, or provide legal assistance.  People caught by the Korean police for illegal drug possession will be prosecuted to the full extent of Korean law and serve lengthy terms in Korean prison.

I’VE BEEN ROBBED! What should I do?

robberyKorea’s crime rate is very low, but crime does happen.  Here’s what you should do:

(1)  Contact the U.S. Embassy:  Consular officers are available to provide emergency assistance 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.  Our 24/7 operator number is +82-(0)2-397-4114.  If you have access to DSN, call 721-4114.

(2)  Contact the local police to report the incident and get immediate help.  Request a copy of the police report.

The Embassy is committed to assisting American citizens who are the victim of a crime overseas.  For more information see:



OUCH!!! I need a Doctor or Dentist who speaks English

doctorsThe Emergency Medical Information Center (dial 119 within Korea) has English speaking doctors available 24 hours a day to assist foreigners and provide them with relevant medical information in emergencies.

Here is a list of Korean doctors and dentists who speak acceptable English, who may be able to help you:  https://kr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/doctors/

Also, do you have health insurance?  Korean hospitals generally do not accept foreign medical insurance and expect advance payment for services in the form of cash or credit cards from foreigners.  If you’re relying on an insurance policy from the U.S., be sure to check with your company to determine if you have coverage overseas.


teacherKorean students are generally bright and motivated, which can make teaching English here fun.  The Embassy’s webpage on teaching English in Korea is: https://kr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/teaching-in-korea/

You should carefully review the terms of your employment contract, especially with regard to working and living conditions.  You will need an employment visa called E-2 (Teaching) visa from the Korean government.  To get the E-2 visa, you submit with your application a criminal records check, health certificate, and U.S. diplomas. Depending on the job and other factors, it can take from one week to two months get your E2 visa.  Within 90 days of arriving in Korea, you must register with Korean Immigration and obtain a residence certificate and re-entry permit.