AMERICAN CITIZEN SERVICES NEWSLETTER (in Seoul, Korea) OCTOBER 2008

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U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy Seoul
Consular Section, American Citizen Services (ACS) Newsletter
October 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. Absentee Voting in the November Elections
2. October 15 Deadline for Economic Stimulus Payment
3. Website for Expatriates in South Korea
4. On-Line Records Checks No Longer Allowed for Teaching Visas
5. Recent Travel Warnings and Alerts
6. Upcoming Holidays: October 3 and 13
7. Embassy Contact Information

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1. Absentee Voting in the November Elections
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Website for Overseas Voters

We encourage you to visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at www.fvap.gov, the official U.S. government website for overseas voters.  The recently-updated website features an automated Voter Registration and Ballot Delivery tool that will greatly improve the vote-by-mail process.

There are two options for overseas voters using the FVAP website:
Visit www.fvap.gov and click “Get Started” to be directed to an online Federal Postcard Application and instructions for your state; or
Visit www.fvap.gov and click “Use our New Automated Tool to Register/Request a Ballot” under Quick Links in the lower right-hand corner of the home page.  You will be redirected to www.fvap.com, a fully automated site that requires you to create a user account and password.

Voter Registration & Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Voters who have not yet registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot should do so now using the FVAP website.  You may also pick up a hard copy of the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) from any U.S. embassy or consulate.

You should also complete a new Federal Postcard Application if you have moved or changed your name since the last time you voted.

Voting

Your local voting officials should mail your absentee ballot 30 to 45 days before the November 4 general election.  Return your voted ballot as early as possible.  Be aware of your state’s ballot receipt deadline, as well as any postmarking requirements.

Emergency Ballots

The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) serves as an emergency ballot for voters who registered in time but fail to receive an official ballot from local election officials.  You can access the FWAB using www.fvap.gov as well.

Questions?

The Voting Assistance Officer at the U.S. Embassy Seoul is available to answer questions about absentee voting.  To contact the Voting Assistance Officer, call (02) 397-4448 or send an email to  VoteSeoul@state.gov.

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2. October 15 Deadline for Economic Stimulus Payment
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The IRS would like to remind taxpayers that the October 15 deadline to file a 2007 income tax return and to receive an economic stimulus payment this year is fast approaching.  This is the deadline for the estimated 4.3 million retirees and disabled veterans who may be eligible to receive a stimulus payment but who normally do not file a tax return.  October 15 is also the deadline for the approximately 10 million people who earlier this year received extensions to file their 2007 income tax return.
“Don’t let the economic stimulus payment pass you by,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “If you want the payment this year, you should file by October 15.  We recognize that there may be older Americans and disabled veterans who still have not filed for their stimulus payment.  If you know of a friend, neighbor or family members who may be in that situation, please give them a hand if they need it.”
The IRS says it has yet to hear from an estimated 4.2 million people who receive certain Social Security benefits and 178,000 who receive certain Veterans Affairs benefits.  The agency twice has sent this group letters that enclosed a Form 1040A, a sample tax form and instructions for sending the tax return to the IRS.  If these instructions have been misplaced, the fastest way to obtain a Package 1040A-3 is to go to IRS.gov or to local IRS offices.  There are more than 400 local offices nationwide where people can get assistance in preparing the return as well.  A return also can be prepared and submitted for free through Free File which is available at IRS.gov.
People must file a tax return in order to receive an economic stimulus payment even if they normally are not required to file a return.
Those who already have filed a 2007 tax return but who have not yet received an economic stimulus payment can check on the status of their payment by going to “Where’s My Economic Stimulus Payment?” on the IRS.gov website.
You can also call 1-866-234-2942 and, after selecting English or Spanish language, press 2 to check on the status of the stimulus payment.  You will need your Social Security Number (the one listed first on the 2007 return), filing status (single, married, etc.) and the number of exemptions claimed on the return.
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3. Website for Expatriates in South Korea
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www.korea4expats.com is a popular English-language source of information on Korea for expatriates.  The website has information on daily living in Korea, cultural events, shopping, etc.  The website service is free and there is no registration required to access the information.

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4. On-Line Records Checks No Longer Allowed for Teaching Visas
————————————————————–

The government of the Republic of Korea changed its immigration procedures in December 2007 to require that criminal records checks and a health certificate be submitted with E-2 visa applications or extensions.  The U.S. Embassy in South Korea does not provide a records check or fingerprinting service, nor can the Embassy authenticate records checks or health certificates.  Korean Immigration furthermore informed the Embassy on July 17, 2008, that they will no longer accept criminal records checks provided by an on-line service as some states and private companies are able to do.  Korean Immigration will only accept an FBI criminal records check or a local police letter from your city or state of residence.

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 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.
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5. Recent Travel Warnings and 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:

Afghanistan    09/10/2008
Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf   09/23/2008
Bolivia    09/15/2008
Georgia    09/10/2008
Iran    09/15/2008
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza    09/26/2008
Lebanon    09/10/2008
Yemen    09/17/2008

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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6. Upcoming Holidays: October 3 and 13
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The U.S. Embassy will be closed on the following dates:

October 3 (Friday)      National Foundation Day (Korea)
October 13 (Monday)     Columbus Day (U.S.)

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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7. 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.

1 Comment

Filed under Announcements, Expat, Korea life, Politics

One response to “AMERICAN CITIZEN SERVICES NEWSLETTER (in Seoul, Korea) OCTOBER 2008

  1. HA

    * in the lifetime of Rasulullah SAW there were two kings of Abyssinia. The name of the first was As-hamah who accepted Islam. The Muslims had migrated to Abyssinia under his rule. At that time he had not yet accepted Islam.

    Rasulullah SAW sent a letter to the second Najaashi with ‘Amr bin Umayyah Damri RA.

    The contents of the letter reads as follows:

    “In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to Najaashi, the king of Abyssinia. You love peace. I convey to you the praises of that Allah, besides whom there is none worthy of worship. He is the King, and is free from all faults. He is free from all shortcomings (or the creation is safe from His oppression). He grants peace; He guards (He saves the creation from all calamities); And I bear witness that Isa Alayhis Salam is one of Allah’s Ruhs, and was the Kalimah of Allah which was sent to the pure, clean and virgin Maryam, thus she conceived. Allah Ta’aala created Isa Alayhis Salam from one of his special ruh’s, and put life into him, as he had created Adam Alayhis Salaam with His hands (without a father or a mother). I call you towards the worship of the One Who is alone and has no partner and call you to assist in obeying His commands. I invite you to accept Imaan (faith), and follow the Shari’ah with which I am sent. Without doubt I am the Messenger of Allah. I invite you and your army towards Allah. I have conveyed the truth to you and have advised you. Accept my advice. Peace be on the one who follows the right path.”

    After the death of this Najaashi, another Najaashi was crowned as a ruler.

    Another letter was written to him which read as follows:

    “This letter is from Allah’s Nabi SAW to the, Najaashi, great (ruler) of Abyssinia. Peace be on the one that follows the straight path, and reposes his faith in Allah and His Rasul, and bears witness that none is worthy of worship save Allah; He is One; He has no partners nor any wife, nor any child; And also bears witness that Muhammad SAW is His servant and Messenger. I invite you to the Kalimah (Laa ilaha illahah, Muhammadur Rasulullah) of Allah. Accept Islam and you shall remain in peace. Oh People of the Book, come to the word that is common between us and you, that we shall not worship anyone besides Allah, and we shall not make anyone from amongst ourselves a god besides Allah. And if they reject (Oh Muslims) then say to them, bear witness that we are Muslims (openly announce their imaan). If you do not accept my invitation (to Islam) and reject it, the sin of the Christians (as they are your followers) shall fall on you.”

    *The second letter mentioned in the hadith was sent to Qaysar (Ceasar), the king of the Romans. According to historians his name was Hiraql. This letter was sent through Dihyah Kalbi RA. Although the Qaysar did not accept Islam, he respected the letter and kept it safely. When Rasulullah SAW heard of this he said: ‘Kisra tore his country to pieces, and Qaysar guarded his’.

    The contents of the letter from Rasulullah SAW to the Qaysar were as follows:

    “In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful From Muhammad, Allah’s servant and Messenger, to Hiraql, the great (ruler) of the Romans. Peace be upon the one that follows righteousness. After praise and salutations, I call you towards the Kalimah (Laa liaha illlallah Muhamamdur Rasulullah) of Islam. Accept Islam that you may live in peace. Allah will grant you a double reward, (because the Ahlul-Kitaab will receive double reward if they accept Islam, as is mentioned in the Qur’an at the end of Surah Al-Hadid), and if you reject then the sin of the tillers of the land (farmers) who are under you, will be upon you. Oh People of the Book, come towards the kalimah, that is the same between us and you, and that is Tauhid (the oneness of Allah), that we shall not worship anyone besides Allah and shall not make any partner unto Him, and that we shall not make anyone from among ourselves a god besides Allah (like the monks and priests are made gods) and if they reject (Oh you Muslims) then say to them that bear witness that we are Muslims (we openly proclaim our religion and now you are responsible for yourselves). (Bukhari, I’laamus Saa’ileen.)

    * One letter was written to Kisra, which is the title of the kings of Persia. The name of this Kisra was Aparvez, who was the grandson of Naw-sherwaan. The contents of the letter to him were as follows:

    “In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful From Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger, to the great ruler of Persia. Peace be upon the one who follows (accepts) righteousness and reposes a faith (Imaan) in Allah and His Rasul, and bears witness that none is to be worshipped besides Allah, Who has no partners and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. I call you towards Allah, for I am Allah’s true Messenger, who has been sent to the whole world to warn those whose hearts are alive (because they have a little understanding – as a man without sense is like a dead person), and complete the proof of Allah (Allah’s existence) to non-believers (so that they may not say on the Day of Qiyaamah that we did not know). Accept Islam so that you may live in peace. If you reject then the sin of all the fire-worshippers will be upon you, for they will be led astray by following you.”

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