(another) AMERICAN CITIZEN SERVICES NEWSLETTER JULY 2008

These can be useful for the expats in Korea…

U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy Seoul
Consular Section, American Citizen Services (ACS) Newsletter
July 2008

The U.S. Embassy is transmitting the following monthly newsletter via its warden system as a public service to U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea.  Please feel free to disseminate this message to U.S. citizens in your organizations or to other Americans you know.

In this issue:

1. Renewing U.S. Passports Ahead of Summer Travel
2. Ensure That Your Absentee Vote Is Counted
3. Next Consular Services Visit to Busan, July 22-23
4. Korean Government Launches Improved English Language Website
5. Foreign Service Officer Test Offered in Seoul on July 14, 17, and 18
6. Visa Rules for Foreign Instructors
7. Recent Travel Warnings and Announcements
8. Upcoming Holidays: Early Closing July 3; July 4
9. Embassy Contact Information

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1. Renewing U.S. Passports Ahead of Summer Travel
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U.S. citizens who will be traveling this summer are strongly encouraged to check their passports (and those of their family members) now to confirm that they have not expired or will not expire soon.  Don’t let a long-awaited vacation or a move to another country become delayed  because of an expired passport.  Note that some countries require foreigners to have a passport with a validity of at least six months in order to be granted entry to their country.  If your passport has expired or is nearing its expiration date, you should begin the process of applying for a new one immediately.  A passport applied for at the Embassy can take 2-3 weeks to process.  Renewing a passport by mail is possible in some cases.  For information on renewal procedures, applications forms, fees, etc., please see http://seoul.usembassy.gov/us_passports.html.

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2. Ensure That Your Absentee Vote is Counted
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Here are ten ways to help ensure that your absentee vote is counted:

(1) Start by contacting your Embassy or military unit Voting Assistance Officer for help in absentee registration and voting.  The Embassy’s Voting Assistance officer is available at VoteSeoul@state.gov.
(2) Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s website at www.fvap.gov for information on the absentee registration and voting process.
(3) Ensure that you have applied for your absentee ballot using the hard copy or on-line versions of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form.
(4) Make sure your local election official has your current mailing address.
(5) Sign and date all election materials.
(6) Fulfill your state’s witness/notary requirements (if required).
(7) Ensure that your ballot or FPCA is postmarked.
(8) Register to vote and request your ballot in a timely manner – not later than early September 2008.
(9) VOTE – mail your ballot not later than October 15, 2008.
(10) Use the Federal Write In Absentee Ballot if you are overseas and your State absentee ballot does not arrive in time to be mailed back by your state’s deadline.

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3. Next Consular Services Visit to Busan, July 22-23
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Officials from the Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit will offer consular services in Busan on July 22-23.  These services will be at  the offices of the American Presence Post in Busan.  A Consular officer will be available on Tuesday, July 22, from 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. and on Wednesday, June 23, from 9:00 a.m.–noon at the American Presence Post, Lotte Gold Rose Building (also known as the Job Center Building), #150-3, Yangjung-dong, Busanjin-gu, Room No. 612.

American citizens will be able to apply for U.S. passports, additional visa pages in their current passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and Social Security cards.  Consular officers will also offer notarial services and provide information regarding voting, federal benefits, and registration with the Embassy.

Any questions about requirements, particularly for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, should be directed by email to seoul_acs@state.gov.  Please allow at least three days for a response.

If you plan to visit the ACS Unit in Busan, we strongly urge you to consult the website at http://www.asktheconsul.org for more information on our consular services and to ensure that you bring the proper forms (filled out in advance) and fees with you.  In addition to bringing original supporting documents (i.e., birth certificate, passport, Certificate of Naturalization), please bring photocopies of all documents you plan to submit.  There will not be a photocopier available on-site.

If you notify us prior to 9:00 a.m. on Monday, July 21, we can add pages to your passport in Busan while you wait.  Please complete form DS-4085, which can be downloaded at:
http://foia.state.gov/FORMS/Passport/DS4085.pdf.  Write “Busan – Extra Pages” at the top of the completed form, include a copy of your passport’s personal data page (the page with your photo), and fax it to our office at (02) 397-4101.  Alternatively, you can email us your request.  Be sure to attach clearly scanned copies of both your DS-4085 form and your passport’s data page.  Email it to Seoul_ACS@state.gov and put “RESEND: BUSAN EXTRA PAGES” in the subject line.  Please note that additional pages cannot be added to one-year emergency passports or to damaged passports.  There is no charge for this service.  Additional information about adding pages is available on our website: http://korea.usembassy.gov/add_pages.html.

The Busan APP’s website is: http://busan.usconsulate.gov.

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4. Korean Government Launches Improved English Language Website
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The Korean government has an English-language website specifically for foreigners: http://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/index.html.  The website provides information on immigration (including electronic applications for many types of visas and online appointment scheduling), general employment in Korea, and investment.

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5. Foreign Service Officer Test Offered in Seoul on July 14, 17, and 18
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U.S. Citizens who are interested in taking the Foreign Service Officer Test should visit www.careers.state.gov to get information on the exam and register for the test.  The website also has information on many different career opportunities with the Department of State.
The U.S. Embassy will be administering the Foreign Service exam in Seoul on the following dates: July 14, 17, and 18.
Please be advised that the registration process for the Foreign Service Officer Test has changed.  Applicants will start by filling out a registration package that consists of an application form and a set of personal narrative questions that, taken together, provide information about your experience and qualifications.  Applicants will need approximately three hours to complete the registration package.

Important deadlines:

July 3, 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Central Standard Time): Deadline for candidates intending to test overseas to submit a completed Registration Package.
July 9, 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Central Standard Time): Deadline for candidates intending to test overseas to schedule a test seat.
July 10 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Central Standard Time): Deadline for candidates intending to test in the U.S. to submit a completed Registration Package.
48 hours before start of your test: Deadline for candidates intending to test in the U.S. to schedule a test seat – provided seats are still available at that test site.

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6. Visa Rules for Foreign Instructors
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The Korean Ministry of Justice announced that as of December 15, 2007, foreigners will have to submit medical and criminal background checks when applying for a visa to become a foreign language teacher in South Korea.  The U.S. Embassy cannot provide a background check or fingerprinting service, and we cannot notarize, certify, or verify the authenticity of background checks or diplomas.

As we understand the new requirements, E-2 visa applicants who are U.S. citizens can obtain the necessary criminal background check either by submitting their fingerprints to the FBI or by applying for a local police check where they last resided in the U.S.  Procedures for obtaining criminal background checks in the U.S. are explained on our website at http://www.asktheconsul.org/E2ec07.htm.  Local police stations in the Republic of Korea are able to take fingerprints that can be sent to the FBI for a background check.  U.S. Embassies are, unfortunately, prohibited from taking fingerprints for these purposes.

As we receive updated information on the Korean visa requirements, we will post it on our website.  The U.S. Embassy website will also continue to be the best source of information about the services that we are able to provide under U.S. law and regulation, but we cannot state with full authority what the Korean regulations are.  If you have further questions, we suggest that you contact the office responsible for the new requirements, the Korea Immigration Service, Border Control Division, at 500-9116, 500-9117, or 500-9118, or consult their website at http://seoul.immigration.go.kr/HP/IMM80/index.do or the Ministry of Justice website (in Korean only) at
http://moj.korea.kr/moj/jsp/moj1_branch.jsp?_action=news_view&_property=p_sec_1&_id=155250149.

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7. Recent Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts
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The U.S. Department of State has recently issued travel warnings or travel alerts for the following countries and regions:

Chad    06/23/2008
Côte d’Ivoire    06/09/2008
Eritrea    06/11/2008
Iraq    06/13/2008
Sri Lanka    06/13/2008
For additional information about these travel warnings and alerts, click on this link:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html
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8. Upcoming Holidays: Early Closing July 3; July 4
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American Citizen Services will exceptionally close at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 3.  If you plan to register the birth of your child or to get married on July 3, please arrive during the earlier part of the morning hours.

The Embassy will be closed on Friday, July 4, 2008.

Please be advised that the days just before and after a holiday are usually exceptionally busy in the American Citizen Services Unit of the Embassy.  Do not be surprised at a significantly longer wait for consular services on those days.  If you visit us outside those times, you should have a shorter wait.

A complete list of all of our holiday closings for 2008 is available on-line at http://seoul.usembassy.gov/holidays.html.
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9. Embassy Contact Information
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American Citizen Services
U.S. Embassy Seoul
32, Sejongno, Jongno-gu
Seoul 110-710, Korea

– or –

American Citizen Services
U.S. Embassy, Seoul
Unit #15550
APO AP 96205-5550

Tel: 02-397-4114
Fax: 02-397-4101
DSN: 721-4114
English:  http://www.asktheconsul.org/
Korean:  http://www.usavisas.org/
E-mail:  seoul_acs@state.gov

End of newsletter text.

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