Tag Archives: passport

No Eyeglasses Policy for Passport Photos


Effective November 1, 2016, 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.

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.

WE’RE GOING ON A FAMILY VACATION! How do I get a passport for my baby or child?

family_vacationYou will need to bring your child’s U.S. Birth Certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CBRA), parents’ photo identifications,  proof that parents are related to the child, online passport application using the “Passport Wizard” ( https://pptform.state.gov/), passport photo, and fee of $105.

For applicants age 15 or younger, both parents must appear in person and sign the passport application before a U.S. consular officer.  Please schedule an appointment at the Embassy’s appointment page:  https://kr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/make-an-appointment/

For more information see: https://kr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/minor-passport/

MY PASSPORT IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE! How do I get a new one?

pptFill out the DS-11 passport application using the “Passport Wizard” (https://pptform.state.gov/) and submit your old passport, proof of identity, passport photo, and fee ($135 for adults, $105 for children).  You can get a new passport in 2 to 3 weeks.   If you submit your old passport, then you do not need to come to the Embassy.  However, if you cannot submit your old passport (because is it lost or stolen), then you will need to make a personal appearance at the Embassy in order to get a new passport.

Frequently asked questions about passports are answered at:  https://kr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/frequently-asked-questions/

Change Your Name in Your U.S. Passport

name_change1Keeping with the theme of earlier blog entry, it’s important to have your U.S. passport reflect the actual name you use legally.  There are many reasons why a U.S. citizen may need to change his or her name on their U.S. passport.  They may get married, they may have legally changed their name for some reason, or, as in case of many U.S. citizens in Korea, they may want to reconcile their “American” name on their U.S. birth certificate and their “Korean” name that is on Korean legal and school documents.  The good news is that you can apply for a new passport with proper documentation!  Please refer to our website: https://kr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/name-changespassport-cards/for more information.

Which “Processing Method” and “Delivery Method” should I choose when filling out a passport application form using the Passport Wizard?

Answer:  We encourage all U.S. passport applications to be prepared using the Passport Wizard, which makes the process much easier for you and for embassy staff.  However, since the Passport Wizard is used both in the United States and overseas, there are two important points you should keep in mind. Continue reading