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How to Renew a South Korean Passport in the U.S.

South Korean Passport
Korea makes use of a microchip within its passports, which carries every individual's biometric data. Biometric data is made up of our physical characteristics such as facial features, fingerprints and digital signatures. Because of this, passport applications and renewals have to be done in person at the Korean embassy or one of its consulates within the U.S. This is to verify your identity and to possibly gather further biometric data. What this means is that you cannot apply for your Korean passport renewal by mail. It also means that you cannot get a third party to apply for you.

South Korean Consulate

The first thing to do when you need to renew your South Korean passport is to look for the Korean consulate that has jurisdiction over the area that you live in. This basically means that they will be able to serve and assist you. Most of the time, this consulate is the one nearest to you. The Korean embassy is located in Washington. Other than that, there are ten more Korean consulates. These consulates can be found in:

  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Seattle
  • Hagatna
  • Honolulu
  • Houston
  • Atlanta

You can check each consulates jurisdiction and contact details here. Each consulate will have its own policies and operating hours so once you have selected the correct consulate relevant to you, visit its website or make contact to ascertain when they are open and whether you will have to book an interview for the renewal of your South Korean passport.

Required Documents

Of course you will have to fill out a passport application form which you may locate on your relative consulate's website. If not, make contact with your consulate and request that they send you one. If this is not part of their policy, there will be application forms available at the consulate itself which you can fill out at your interview. The other supporting documents which you must take with you when visiting the Korean embassy or consulate include:

  • Your current expired South Korean passport
  • A passport photograph
  • Photocopy of green card, work permit, visa stamp etc that shows U.S residency
  • Photocopy of family relationship certificate if so required (your consulate can tell you this)
  • Passport fee
  • Return express mail self-addressed envelope for the posting of your new passport

Fool-proofing your passport photo for your South Korean passport application

Many people do not give the passport photos enough attention when it comes to passport applications and kind of leave them to be an after-thought. This is a mistake. Your passport photo can cause the rejection of your entire passport application if it does not meet standards. Keep the following in mind:

  • Photos must be passport size: 2 inches x 2 inches
  • Applicant must face the camera directly with open eyes and a closed mouth (natural expression)
  • The photo background must be white and without shadows
  • Nothing may obstruct the applicant's face including headwear and glasses

Search further guidelines online.

South Korean Passport Fees

The standard passport fee for a Korean passport is $53 and must be paid in cash at the embassy or consulate. It is recommended that applicants return to the embassy or consulate to pick up the passport once processed. If return by mail is preferred, applicants must inform the passport officer and sign a waiver at the time of application. In addition, a self-addressed prepaid return envelope with tracking is required.

If your nearest Korean consulate is not too difficult to get to, the South Korean passport process is quite painless should you follow the above guidelines.

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