Renewing my Canadian Passport in Busan

 

Renewing your passport while abroad isn’t exactly the smartest course of action.  I had a year and a half left on my passport when I left Canada to teach English in South Korea, but with all the expenses of applying for my visa, getting my fingerprints and background check done, having my degree notarized, etc. I didn’t bother applying for a new passport.  You need 6 months + to travel practically anywhere, and if you want to go to China on a multi-entry visa you need at least a year before your passport expires.

Now that I’ll be staying for another year (this time right in the middle of the excitement of Seoul!), I’m kicking myself for not getting a 10 year passport when I had the chance.  Had I renewed back in Canada, the fees would have been significantly less ($170 rather than $260), my Chinese visa would have been multi-entry rather than the single-entry I received (check out how to get a Chinese visa here), and I wouldn’t have had to go all the way to Sinpyeong (the end of the line!) to submit my passport documents.

What you’ll need to prepare (taken from cic.gc.ca):

Does your passport have a valid visa in it?
If you submit a passport for renewal that has a valid visa, tell us on the application form that you want the original passport returned to you and that you still need that visa. If you don’t, the visa could be damaged when the previous passport is cancelled.

***The above is extra important!  You’ll need your E2 visa back, so you need to specify that you want your passport to be returned to you.  Once you have your new passport you have 14 days in which to notify Korean immigration of the change.***

You need a Credit Card Authorization form too because guess what – although it says they’ll accept credit cards on premise, they don’t!  They’ll send you down the street to get a certified cheque or money order UNLESS you prepare this form!

Image of the passport photo specifications described below

 

Passport photos in Busan:
I got my Passport photos taken at LotteMart in Hwamyeong (Photos must be taken in person by a commercial photographer).  I received 4 unaltered copies (tell them NO PHOTOSHOP!) with a stamp (The name and complete address of the photo studio and the date the photo was taken. The photographer may use a stamp or handwrite this information. Stick-on labels are unacceptable.) on the back for KRW 20,000 (just over $20 Canadian).  I was told by several Korean friends that Passport photos were cheap at LotteMart so I don’t want to consider how much they’d be elsewhere!  Click here to print the specifications for the photographer.
 
Getting to the Honorary Consulate of Canada to Korea in Busan:

Address, Telephone, Fax, E-mail

c/o Dongsung Chemical Co., Ltd.99 Sinsan-ro, Saha-gu
Busan 604-721

Telephone: +82-51-204-5581
Fax: +82-51-204-5580
E-mail: seoul@international.gc.ca

Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday : 09 :00-11 :30 and 13 :00-17:00 – Only Passport Services/Citizenship & Notary Services for walk-in clients.
SUBWAY/ WALKING DIRECTIONS:
 
Rather than taking the subway to Sasang and the bus to Sinpyeong I should have just gone the long way from Hwamyeong to Sinpyeong (transferring at Seomyeon).  Avoid taking the bus unless you speak Korean.
 

“Take exit #4 from the Sinpyeong Station and head straight for about a half of a kilometer (500m). Take a left when you come to the corner with the LG (GS) Gas Station and the Canadian Consulate is 100m down the road.” – Ryan Griffiths c/o UlsanOnline

 
TLDR: So what do I need to bring?

 

Complete the application form

 

To save time, complete the form on your computer and then print it. Sign each page of the application.
***REQUEST THAT YOUR ORIGINAL PASSPORT BE RETURNED TO YOU!!!***

 

Gather all necessary documents and get your passport photo

 

Include the following documents with your application form:
  • your most recent passport
  • two identical passport photos (the name and the complete address of the photographer and the date the photos was taken must be included on the back of one of the photos. Read the full requirements for more information)

Find two references

 

You will also need two references to include on your application. Your references must have known you for at least two years. You cannot use a family member or your guarantor as a reference. ***If you’re applying to renew your passport you will not need a guarantor!***

 

Submit your application and pay your fees

 

Submit your application to the nearest Government of Canada passport issuing office abroad.
Passport – Fees 5-year adult passport (age 16 or over) $190 10-year adult passport (age 16 or over) $260 Child passport (0-15 years of age) $100
Additional fees: There are additional fees associated with replacing a passport and other administrative services. These fees are added to the base fee listed above.

 

Receiving your passport

 

The Government of Canada passport issuing office abroad where you applied will let you know when your passport is ready and give you instructions on when and how to pick it up.
***I applied in Busan, but since I’ll be traveling to the DMZ & JSA within the 20 business day minimum application period they’re sending me back my passport (the woman on the phone in Busan said I had enough time and to come in – no worries.  NOT THE CASE!  It’s already gone from Busan to Seoul, from Seoul back to Busan and will come back to Seoul for my travels over the Seollal [Lunar New Year][, then will come back with me to Busan where it’ll be sent to the Busan Honorary Canadian Consulate again, then sent back up to Seoul to be processed, then sent back to Busan, then sent back up to Seoul since I’ll be moving while it’s being processed.  Seriously – try to wrap your head around all that!  The registered mail fees will allegedly all be included in my passport renewal fees.  Update: I received my [old] Passport in the mail January 25th and will have to go through this process all over again in February after my trip to Seoul.). ***

 

The Canadian Consulate in Busan is in the middle of nowhere.  I took the subway to Sasang Station and then got on the right bus (I promise!) which ended up going the opposite way.  I had to take a cab.  I was sick, I had no voice, and I cried…twice.  I’ll keep you posted on the comings and goings of my Canadian Passport Renewal in Busan, South Korea!
Update:  The lady from the consulate in Busan has actually contacted me a few times and has kept me informed of the process with every step.  Apparently my Passport is now in Seoul and is being sent to my new school.  Since they’re taking care of my visa renewal (score!) it’s handy that my passport will be there when I arrive.

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