Korean Paperwork Life in Korea 한국

Visas and IDPs

Last Tuesday, I picked up fellow EPIKers one at the Train Station in CT and the rest in MA on the way to the Korean Consulate in Newton, MA.  The ride up was a lot of fun and it was interesting meeting new people for the first time face to face. Nothing like getting to know each other than saying, “Hey….I know you on facebook, you wanna go to the consulate together?” *Gasps of horror* Strangers entered my car and they were all fabulous ladies!

We made our way to the consulate on a mission as one of us had a problem applying elsewhere with paperwork and the like. We circled the street the building was on three times before we settled on just parking in the dunkin donuts parking lot across the street. We swiftly made our way across the street and up to the second floor. I organized all of my documents quickly, thinking I have everything here and presented my documents first. The clerk said , “I don’t need this, I don’t need this, I don’t need this. $45.”

My response was, “Isn’t the multiple entry $80?”

“No, all visas are multiple entry. $45.” She said without looking up at me. So I paid quickly and was super excited that it was less than I was expecting. The three of us moved through the line quickly, we had to make a side trip to the post office and walgreen’s for new passport photos for one of the girls but all in all it was super quick. Luckily, our visas would start to be processed and out for delivery by Thursday morning.

…Wednesday afternoon I get a phone call. “You have no postage for your envelope.” Slight panic set in for a moment as I distinctly remember buying stamps and watching them be posted on the envelope and if they weren’t they were inside waiting to be put on.

So I replied, “They should be inside the envelope if they aren’t on the outside.”

“No, they are not. ”

“Can you hold my visa for me? How long can you hold it?” I ask.

“We can hold it okay.”

…I realize I am strapped for time, I don’t have a vehicle to return to Boston, and I cannot get a second day off to retrieve it. Would they take a money order? A credit card over the phone? Nope. and Nope. An additional call would verify this for me.  So without further ado I jetted across the parking lot to the small post office in the grocery store and bough two priority envelopes with delivery confirmation and postage on both. I even inserted a little note explaining what to do and saying thank you for your help in Korean.

After watching the passport sit in Nashua, NH for 3 1/2 days at a sorting facility it finally arrived to me today.  I am not ready to leave!


IDP (International Driver’s Permit)

The USA calls it an IDP…it should be an IDL (International Driver’s License). But that is just my opinion. So I went to the local AAA office today to renew my driver’s license since it will expire while I am abroad and to obtain the IDP.  Unfortunately, as I am standing at the counter the lady tells me, “You can’t renew your driver’s license. You can only renew it 4 months before.”

” I won’t be in the country and I am not going to let it expire. ”

“Well, you can mail it in to renew but you will have non-photo ID which you MUST keep with your current driver’s license that will expire.”

Well, so now I know I can’t get that done until later which kind of sucks but whatever. However, I brought the two passport photos for my IDP and it was obtained within 5-10 minutes. I was super impressed I could walk out the same day with it. I was glancing through the book and realized there is no Korean, so I hope if I get pulled over in Korea the officer knows how to read the English.


As I sit here writing, I have 13 days and counting…still so much to do.

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