Newsletter March 3, 2017

Featured in this quarter’s issue:

  • STEP Registration and U.S. Citizen Wardens
  • Absentee Voting
  • Regarding The State of Emergency
  • Federal Benefits Unit and Veterans Services, Athens
  • Use IRS Free to File Taxes for Free
  • Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States
  • Worldwide Caution Security Message
  • Holidays
  • Contact Information

STEP Registration and U.S. Citizen Wardens

We recommend that all U.S. citizens residing in or visiting Turkey register in the Department of State’s Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP). Enrolling in STEP allows you to receive important information from the Embassy or Consulate about safety conditions in Turkey, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans. It also assists us or your family and friends to contact you in an emergency, whether it is a natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
U.S. citizen wardens assist the Embassy and Consulate in Turkey to keep the STEP registration information updated, and may contact you to confirm your details.

Absentee Voting

Just voted in November? Still traveling or living overseas? You should register and request your absentee ballot to vote again in 2017 to ensure your election office knows where to send your ballot for any upcoming special elections for federal office. Some states are also holding gubernatorial or other statewide elections this year.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recommends all overseas U.S. citizens send in a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) early every year. The FPCA is the registration and ballot request form which is accepted by all states and territories.
You can use the FPCA online assistant, complete the fillable PDF version, or pick up a hard copy version from your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Be sure your contact information is accurate in case your election office needs to reach you.
If you’d like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process please go to or call FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email Toll-free phone numbers from 67 countries are listed at Find FVAP on Facebook at and follow @FVAP on Twitter.

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 January 2017. This means that it will run through April 18, 2017. The state of emergency allows for expanded powers of Turkish authorities. Some of these powers include detention 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.

Federal Benefits Unit and Veterans Services, Athens

The Federal Benefits Unit in Athens is responsible for questions about Social Security, Veterans and other Federal benefits for U.S. citizens in Turkey. For more information, you may visit the unit’s website, phone, or send an email.
Tel: (30) (210) 720-2426

Use IRS Free File to File Taxes for Free

Join the millions of Americans who safely file their taxes and save money using IRS Free File. Taxpayers can use either individual software or fillable forms. Combining IRS Free File with direct deposit is the quickest and safest way to get a refund.
Here are some tips about IRS Free File:
1. Get Started at IRS Free File is available only through Simply choose a Free File company and then click on that link to prepare and e-file the return.
2. Find Tax Breaks. The tax software’s question-and-answer format helps eligible taxpayers find tax breaks. This could include tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. The software then selects the appropriate tax forms and does the calculations automatically. Free File can help with the health care law tax provisions as well.
3. Free for All. Taxpayers with income of $64,000 or less can use brand-name software. Taxpayers who earned more can use Free File Fillable Forms. This option allows taxpayers to complete IRS forms electronically. It is best for those who are used to doing their own taxes.
4. Easy Online Extensions. For those who cannot finish their return by the April 18 deadline, it’s easy to use Free File to request a six-month extension. An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. If taxpayers owe federal taxes, they should estimate the amount they owe and pay it with the extension request. This will help avoid penalties and interest.

The IRS partners with leading tax software companies, the Free File Alliance, to make the program available. Some companies also offer state tax return free filing. More information is located on the IRS’ website:

Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States

In accordance with a judicial ruling, the Department of Homeland Security has suspended actions implementing the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” More information about the Executive Order is found at the Custom and Border Protection website below. However as always, continue checking the news for an updates or changes.

Worldwide Caution Security Message

A Worldwide Caution that was issued by the Department of State in September to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world may be found at


U.S. Mission offices will be closed on the following U.S. and Turkish holidays:
April 23 Sunday National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
May 1 Monday Labor and Solidarity Day
May 19 Friday Ataturk Memorial, Youth and Sports Day
May 29 Monday Memorial Day

Contact Information

Athens Federal Benefits Unit and Veterans Services
Tel: (30) (210) 720-2426
Fax: (30) (210) 720-0509