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American Outlook Newsletter, 10/27/2016


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Featured in this quarter’s issue:

  • New American Citizen Services Chief in Ankara
  • Passport News
  • Absentee Voting
  • Federal Benefits and IRS news
  • The “Demonstrations Page”
  • Information Regarding The State of Emergency
  • New Turkish Labor Law for Foreigners
  • Security-Worldwide Caution
  • Holidays
  • Contact Information

New American Citizen Services Chief in Ankara

Martin Thomen is the newly arrived American Citizen Services chief officer, and will be in Ankara for three years.  He’s looking forward to meeting and interacting with the U.

S. citizen community in Turkey over the next few years.

Passport News

Passport Validity

Foreigners entering Turkey must carry a passport or travel document with an expiration date of at least 60 days beyond the expiration date of their visa, visa exemption, or residence permit. Turkish tourist visas are generally valid for 6 months therefore U.

S. citizens should ensure their passport is valid for eight months beyond entry date. Passports should have enough blank space to allow for Turkish entry and exit stamps. If there is no space for entry and exit stamps, travelers may be denied entry into Turkey.

Passport Fee Changes

The Department of State intends to adjust the passport execution fee from $25 to $35.   The passport execution fee is applicable to all first-time passport applicants and certain other applicants who must apply in person, such as minors under the age of 16.  The Department has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, and will accept public comments on the fee change until November 18, 2016 via the following link: https://www.regulations.gov/#/document?

D=DOS-2016-0029-0001

Social Security Numbers Required

Effective October 1, a Social Security number (SSN) will be required for all passport applications.  This requirement comes from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).  The FAST Act requires passports to be denied and/or revoked for persons with seriously delinquent tax debt and/or those persons who submit a passport application without a correct and valid Social Security number (SSN).  

No Eyeglass Policy

The "No Eyeglasses Policy" will go into effect November 1, 2016.  Under this policy, Consular Affairs (CA) will no longer accept photographs of visa and passport applicants wearing eyeglasses, except in rare, medically-documented circumstances.  CA will implement this policy with a soft one-month enforcement period from November 1 to November 30, 2016, after which we will not accept photographs with eyeglasses.  Photographs with eyeglasses that passport and visa applicants submit during this one-month grace period, which are not processed until a later date, should be accepted.  

Under the No Eyeglasses Policy, an applicant may wear eyeglasses in a visa or passport application photograph in rare circumstances of medical necessity, for example, when an applicant has had recent ocular surgery and eyeglasses are necessary to protect his/her eyes during urgent travel.  Applicants must provide a medical statement signed by a medical professional/health practitioner in these cases.
 
Absentee Voting

Visit http://www.fvap.gov/ for comprehensive information about registering and voting abroad.  Most States require U.

S. citizens to complete an absentee ballot application before voting. The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) encourages the use of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) which acts as both a registration and absentee ballot request form. FVAP encourages overseas voters to submit a new FPCA every year and when they move. The FPCA can be easily completed by using the online assistant, filling out the PDF.

  1. Complete and sign the FPCA according to your state's instructions.
  2. Fold and seal your FPCA.  If using the online FPCA, print, sign and put it in an envelope.  You qualify for free postage if you use the approved envelope template and bring it to the Embassy.
  3. Address and mail the FPCA to your local election official. Be sure to include your return address and affix postage if using a foreign postal service.

Federal Benefits and IRS News

ITIN Changes

The Internal Revenue Service has announced important changes to help taxpayers comply with revisions to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program. The changes require some taxpayers to renew their ITINs beginning in October 2016.

All ITINs issued prior to 2013 need to be renewed.  Any taxpayer that has not used their ITIN since the 2013 tax return should renew it.  Any taxpayer who does not renew their expired ITIN could face a refund delay and may be ineligible for certain tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, until the ITIN is renewed.

More information on this issue can be found at:

https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-works-to-help-taxpayers-affected-by-itin-changes-renewals-begin-in-october?_ga=1.250024838.1230946215.1470662761

The “Demonstrations Page” of our Public Website

Information regarding non-violent demonstrations will be posted on our new “Demonstrations” page of our websites.  We reminds U.

S. citizens that demonstrations and large events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and advises avoidance of large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

For further detailed information regarding Turkey and travel:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Turkey’s Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Regarding the State of Emergency

The Turkish government declared a three-month state of emergency in July, and it was extended for another 90 days in October.  The state of emergency allows for expanded powers of Turkish authorities, following thefailed military coup attempt on July 15th. Some of these powers include detainment and questioning of both Turkish citizens and foreign nationals. U.

S. citizens should carry a form of identification at all times and make every effort to comply with the instructions and requests of Turkish authorities.

If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.

S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.  Turkish authorities may not inform U.

S. officials of dual nationals arrested in Turkey or may refuse to allow U.

S. officials to visit or provide consular assistance to U.

S.-Turkish dual nationals arrested in Turkey.

New Turkish Labor Law for Foreigners

Turkey’s parliament has approved a new labor law concerning foreign citizens who wish to work, intern or apprentice inside the country, specifying the conditions under which foreigners will be allowed to have a work permit.

According to the International Labor Force Law approved on July 28, foreigners will initially be given a work permit valid for one year. This period will then be extended with each renewed application.  Those with long-term residence permits or work permits valid for at least eight years will be able to apply for permanent work permits.

Foreign students at Turkish universities will be allowed to work if they obtain a work permit from their employers.  A “turquoise card” will be issued to foreigners with higher education degrees, occupational experience or the potential to contribute to science and technology. An approval from the International Labor Force Policy Advisory Board is required in order to be considered for a “turquoise card.”  After a three-year period, a holder may apply for an indefinite work permit.

Worldwide Caution Security Message

Worldwide Caution was issued by the Department of State to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.

S. citizens and interests throughout the world can be found here.

Holidays

U.

S. Mission offices will be closed on the following American and Turkish holidays:

October 28-29  Friday-Saturday- Turkish Independence Day (from 13:00 on 10/28, Friday)

November 11    Friday-Veterans Day

November 24    Thursday-Thanksgiving Day

December 26    Monday-Christmas Day (observed)

Contact Information

Ankara:  110 Ataturk Boulevard
Tel: (90) (312) 455-5555

Fax: (90) (312) 468-6131
https://tr.usembassy.gov/

Istanbul:  Uc Sehitler Sokak No. 2, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer
Tel: (90) (212) 335-9000
Fax: (90) (212) 335-9102
https://tr.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/istanbul/

Adana: Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir
Tel: (90)(322) 455-4100
Fax (90)(322) 455-4141

http://adana.usconsulate.gov

https://tr.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/adana/

Izmir Consular Agent

[email protected]

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