American Citizen Services U.S. Mission Turkey September 2020 Newsletter

American Citizen Services 

U.S. Mission Turkey 

September 2020 Newsletter 

 

Featured in this issue:

  1. Watch our New Overseas Voting Informational Video!
  2. Update on U.S. Consular Services in Turkey
  3. CDC Tips for Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  4. Mandatory HES Code for Domestic Travels in Turkey
  5. Quarantine Requirements for Turkey and the United States
  6. IRS: Important Things All Extension Filers Should Remember
  7. IRS Deadline to Submit Info for Economic Impact Payments Extended for Parents of Qualifying Children
  8. Holidays
  9. Contacts and Information

U.S. Citizen Services in Turkey:   https://tr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/
Turkey Travel Advisory:  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/turkey-travel-advisory.html
Worldwide Caution:  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/worldwide-caution.html
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): https://step.state.gov/step/

1. Watch our New Overseas Voting Informational Video!

U.S. Mission Turkey is pleased to invite U.S. citizens to watch our new Overseas Voting Informational Video. The video, which is hosted by our Voting Assistance Officers, provides key information about absentee voting and answers the questions we received from U.S. citizens in Turkey about voting overseas.

Remember, voting from overseas is easier than ever and your vote makes a difference.  So don’t wait.  Watch our video and then send in your ballot! 

You can find a link to our video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WRTtX1QQz4

The link is also available on our website’s voting page, where you can learn more about voting overseas: https://tr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/voting/.

If you have additional questions about absentee voting, you can always email us at VoteAnkara@state.govVoteIstanbul@state.gov, and VoteAdana@state.gov.

We look forward to assisting you with mailing your ballots soon!

2. Update on Current Consular Appointment Procedures in Turkey

Due to preventative measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, U.S. Mission Turkey is currently providing limited consular services for American citizens and immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants.

American Citizen Services
U.S. Mission Turkey’s American Citizen Services (ACS) Units are currently providing limited passport, notarial, and Consular Report of Birth Abroad services. ACS is scheduling a limited number of appointments for full validity passport applications. The U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, the U.S. Consulate in Adana, and the U.S. Consular Agency in Izmir can assist you with limited validity emergency passports for adults and minors if you have an urgent need to travel.

During this time, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul are scheduling a limited number of notarial appointments, by email. If you are requesting notarial services, please send an email to Ankara-ACS@state.gov or ACS_Istanbul@state.gov stating your specific request and the urgency. A Consular staff will be in touch with you.

If you are traveling to Turkey from another country for your appointment, you should schedule your appointment at least 14 days after you have been in Turkey.

Immigrant Visa Services
The U.S. Embassy Ankara Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit is currently processing emergency cases for limited categories of applicants, including the spouses of U.S. citizens, minor children of U.S. citizens, adoptions, certain special immigrant visa applicants, and boarding foils for applicants with lost or stolen green cards.

Under the Presidential Proclamations announced April 22 and June 22, 2020, the issuance of certain immigrant visas has been suspended until December 31, 2020. This suspension and limitation on entry only applies to aliens who: (a) are outside the United States on April 23, 2020; (b) do not possess an immigrant visa that is valid on April 23, 2020; and (c) do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) that is valid on April 23, 2020 or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission. For more details and exceptions please see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-visa-services-and-restrictions.html and the Presidential Proclamations:

Proclamation dated April 22, 2020: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-immigrants-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-economic-recovery-following-covid-19-outbreak/ 

Proclamation dated June 22, 2020: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/

The following categories of applicants may be eligible for a national interest exception: Any alien seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien.

K1 (fiancée) visa interviews have also been suspended, but any K1 applicant who was interviewed within the last 365 days and was refused under section 212(g) may resume their visa applications. Diversity visa applications are suspended under the Presidential Proclamations, unless they fall under one of the excepted categories above.  For more information, please visit the following websites:

Non-immigrant Visa Services
U.S. Mission Turkey’s Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Units are only processing visas for emergency cases or visa types deemed to be critical, such as diplomatic and official visas and category F, M, and J student visas.  In addition, the NIV Unit has been processing cases previously refused under section 221(g) as long as they do not require an interview.  Visa renewals of B1/B2, C1/D visas and visa application for children under 14 or adults over 79 are routed to Istanbul by the appointment system.

This information is valid as of the date of this newsletter and subject to change.  Please visit our web page for the latest information: https://tr.usembassy.gov/tr/embassy-consulates-tr/ankara-tr/

3. CDC Tips for Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

You can get COVID-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.

Don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

You can find more CDC tips for preventing the spread of COVID-19 at the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html.

4. Mandatory HES Code for Domestic Travel in Turkey

https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-int/announcements/coronavirus-outbreak/hes-code/index.html

The HES Code is a personal code implemented by the Ministry of Health to reduce the presence of passengers at the airport who are COVID-19 positive, or have had contact with a positive patient, and to prevent them from spreading COVID-19 on domestic flights. The HES code is mandatory on all domestic flights for citizens of the Republic of Turkey and foreign residents whose Turkish government-issued ID Number starts with 97, 98, and 99.  It is mandatory to have a valid HES code when purchasing a ticket.

What you should know about HES:

  • HES codes will be checked 24 hours before the flight and passengers will be notified regarding their status. Passengers who are not approved by the Ministry of Health for travel will not be permitted for flying.
  • Each HES code is valid only for a certain period or without time limit. The HES code expiry date must be at least 7 days after the last flight date on your ticket. Otherwise, your reservation will not be confirmed.
  • You are not required to obtain a HES code for infants who have not yet reached their 2nd birthday.
  • HES code for your children under the age of 18 can be obtained via SMS and the e-Government portal. To obtain a HES code for your children through the Hayat Eve Sığar application will be available to you soon.
  • Currently, the HES code is not mandatory for domestic flights with connecting international flights (e.g., Trabzon-London flight via Istanbul). However, the HES code is mandatory when passengers have a more than 24-hour domestic layover before the international flight.

How to obtain a HES Code:
https://hayatevesigar.saglik.gov.tr/hes-eng.html

You can obtain an HES code:

  • via “Hayat Eve Sığar” App (IOS and Android) 
  • via e-Government
    • Transactions of HES Code via e-Government: You can perform producing, deleting, querying and viewing details.
    • You can create a HES code for your children under the age of 18 via e-Government.
  • via SMS to 2023:
    • You can only send SMS to 2023 through Turkish GSM operators.  If you are not using a Turkish GSM operator, another person using Turkish GSM operator can obtain it on your behalf.
    • For Turkish citizens: Send SMS to 2023 with HES and National ID Number, last four digits of National ID serial code and days of sharing (number of days), with spaces between each item.
    • Persons who have Turkish Republic Blue Card ID or whose Turkish Republic ID No. starts with 97, 98, 99: Send SMS to 2023 with HES, your Turkish Republic identification number, year of birth, and sharing time (in days), with spaces between each item.
    • Persons who do not have a Turkish Republic or foreign identification number starting with 97, 98, 99: Send SMS to 2023 with HES, your nationality, passport serial number, year of birth, and last name, with spaces between each item.

5. Quarantine Information for Turkey and for the United States

We frequently receive questions about the latest quarantine requirements in Turkey and in the United States.  Although the information can be found on our web site, we would like to briefly summarize it here for you.  This information is current as of this newsletter’s date and is subject to change.  You may find the most recent information at the U.S. Mission Turkey COVID-19 page: https://tr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/

Entering Turkey: U.S. citizens may enter Turkey without having to follow any quarantine procedures or take a COVID-19 test, if they do not show COVID-19 like symptoms.  A PCR test will be administered if a passenger shows symptoms of COVID-19.  COVID-19 control measures for air, land, and sea travel continue. Passengers arriving in Turkey will be required to complete an information form and will be checked for symptoms. Anyone suspected of having COVID-19 will be transported to a hospital for examination. If an individual on a particular aircraft/vehicle/vessel is found to have COVID-19, the information forms completed upon arrival will be used to identify others have been in contact with them; those individuals will then be subject to 14-day isolation/quarantine.

Entering the U.S.: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) no longer recommends travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return. Instead, you should follow state, territorial, tribal and local recommendations or requirements after your trip.  Individual states may have different requirements, some may have quarantine requirements, others may require a negative Covid-19 test result.  Travelers should check the local government website of their destination state.

6.  Important Things All Extension Filers Should Remember

October 15 is almost here! Oct 15 is the last day to file for most people who requested an extension for their 2019 tax return. These taxpayers can file any time before Thursday, Oct. 15, if they have all the required tax documents. They can also pay part or all of their taxes anytime on IRS.gov.

More information on key reminders for extension filers can be found here:

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/important-things-all-extension-filers-should-remember

7.  IRS Deadline to Submit Info for Economic Impact Payments Extended for Parents of Qualifying Children

The IRS has extended its deadline to September 30, 2020 to provide information to the IRS using its IRS’ Non-Filer Tool if you:

  • Receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits, or SSI payments.
  • Did not file a 2019 or 2018 tax return.
  • Have a qualifying child under age 17.
  • You did not already enter information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool for you and at least one child.

If you already entered information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool before and even after the IRS’ previously announced deadlines (April 22 if you receive Social Security; May 5 if you receive SSI), you do not need to do anything. The IRS will automatically make a payment in October based on the information you provided them.

Please read the IRS’ August 14 press release for more details.

8. Holidays

U.S. Mission Turkey offices will be closed on the following U.S. and Turkish holidays:
Monday, October 12                             Columbus Day
Wednesday, October 28-29                 Turkish Independence Day (from 13:00 on 10/28, Wednesday)
Wednesday, November 11                   Veteran’s Day
Thursday, November 26                       Thanksgiving Day
Friday, December 25                            Christmas Day

9. Contacts and Information