The American Citizen Services branch of the American Embassy can assist U.S. citizens who are temporarily destitute abroad due to robbery or other unforeseen circumstances. There are no facilities for cashing checks at the Embassy but if you find yourself in this situation there are a number of alternatives available.
Wiring Money Directly
You can wire money directly to a U.S. citizen in Korea through Western Union. Money wired through Western Union is accessible at any Kookmin Bank in the country. The Kookmin Bank nearest to the U.S. Embassy is the Sejong-ro Branch, located in the Korean Reinsurance Building on the 1st floor at #80 Susong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. It will be necessary for the person receiving the money to present proof of identity such as a passport. For more information, you can visit the Western Union’s website.
Your Credit Card Company
The Seoul Branch of Citibank located near the Embassy at #89-29 Shinmoonro 2-ka, Jongno-gu has cash advance machines that work for both Visa and Mastercard credit cards. Another alternative is to contact your credit card company which may be able to advance you funds temporarily. If your credit card was lost or stolen, report this immediately to your credit card company. They may also be able to verify your credit card directly to your hotel or airline to enable you to checkout of your hotel, obtain replacement airline tickets, or other emergency services. It may be necessary for a person receiving funds and a new credit card to present proof of identity such as a passport. You may also wish to confer with your credit card company before you travel abroad to find out what alternatives are available.
Bank to Bank Transfers and ATMs
A number of ATMs that accept U.S.-based cards are available throughout the country, primarily in large hotels and foreign exchange banks. Two located near the Embassy are in Gwanghwamun subway station and at the Korean Foreign Exchange Bank behind the Embassy. Alternatively, it may also be possible to transfer funds directly from a bank in the United States to a bank in Korea where the U.S. citizen can receive the funds. Many foreign banks require that the U.S. citizen establish a foreign bank account to use this service. Bank to bank transfers can take several days to accomplish. Fees are typically established by the bank sending the funds.
When U.S. citizens are stranded in Korea, they may contact the American Citizens Services branch of the U.S. Embassy for assistance in contacting their family, friends, or employer in the United States for financial help. The U.S. Embassy in Korea is located at 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul, telephone (82-2) 397-4114.
In an emergency situation, where no commercial alternatives are available, including incarceration of an American or paying for expenses to return the remains of a deceased American citizen to the U.S., family or friends may send funds through the U.S. embassy or consulate using the Department of State Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) Trust process.
For further information and instruction to send money overseas to an U.S. citizen in an emergency, please click here.