Security Regulations

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Overview

“One Cellphone Only” Policy for Access to the Visa and American Citizen Services Units (May 2, 2016)

In order to enhance security screening and reduce waiting times at the Embassy, the Consular Section will implement a “One Cellphone Only” policy beginning May 16, 2016.  The Embassy will not store prohibited items for visa applicants or American Citizen Services (ACS) customers.  There is no facility at the Embassy to store such items. 
You are allowed to bring the following items to the U.S. Embassy:

  • One cellphone (which will be checked at the security gate)
  • One set of remote car keys (which will be checked at the security gate)
  • A purse or briefcase that can be carried by hand
  • Clear plastic folders containing visa application-related papers
  • Stroller, snacks, and a small diaper bag (for those with young children)
  • Umbrella

You are NOT allowed to enter the U.S. Embassy while carrying any of the following items:

  • Battery-operated or electronic devices such as laptops, iPads, head phones, thumb drives, digital diaries, smart watches, Fitbits, pagers, cameras, audio/video cassettes, compact discs, MP3s, floppy disks, chargers, or portable music players
  • Any luggage
  • Bags such as travel bags, backpacks, suitcases, clothing bags, and zip folders
  • Food items
  • Cigarettes, cigars, match boxes, lighters
  • Sharp objects such as scissors, pen knives or nail files
  • Weapons or explosive materials of any kind

This list is not exhaustive.  Other items may be prohibited at the discretion of security staff.

Due to security considerations, there is no information window for walk-in visitors at the Embassy.  Only visa applicants and ACS customers with scheduled interviews will be admitted.  We are introducing these measures to reduce the amount of time applicants wait in line outside the Embassy.
For details, please see Interview Procedures FAQ page.

Interview Procedures FAQ


Why is the Embassy restricting what I can bring to the Embassy?

Mission Korea is preparing for the annual summer busy season in visas.  Historically, we do more visas in June, July, and August than any other months of the year. We have over 300 people a day coming to the Embassy in Seoul for visa appointments.  We do not want our customers standing in the sun for a long time.  All customers have to go through a security screening process, and X-raying large bags, briefcases, backpacks and the like takes too much time.  No electronics are allowed in the Embassy, and screening and checking multiple phones, iPads, computers and the like also takes too much time.  To keep you from a long wait outside, and to speed up your time at the Embassy, we are no longer storing any of these items while you have your visa interview.  We recognize this will cause inconvenience as you will need to store them at your own expense if you forget and bring them to the interview.  But we believe the overall increase in the speed and efficiency of our screening, and the shorter time you will be at the Embassy for your visa interview or American Citizen Services (ACS), will be worth it.  Please plan now for our “One Cellphone Only” screening process on the day of your visa interview or ACS service.

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 If I cannot store my belongings at the Embassy, where can I store them?

Metro stations and train stations have coin operated lockers.  Please note that for security reasons, you cannot leave baggage or belongings of any kind on the sidewalk or in public areas adjacent to the Embassy.

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I’ve been turned away for my morning appointment because I brought prohibited items.  Can I return after I store my items elsewhere?

Yes, applicants with morning appointments must return by 11:00 a.m. on the day of their interview, otherwise they will need to make a new appointment for another day.  Applicants with afternoon appointments must return to the Embassy by 3:00 p.m., otherwise they will need to make a new appointment for another day.

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If I need to re-schedule my appointment, can I do so immediately?

Generally, your profile will not be unlocked until the following day.  Once your profile is unlocked, you will be able to make a new appointment.

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