Newsletter (April 29, 2019)

Featured in this issue:

  1. Update on Notarial Services
  2. Istanbul’s New Airport
  3. Prepare for Summer Travel Now
  4. Renewing Passports by Mail
  5. Avoiding Internet Scams
  6. Voting Overseas
  7. Social Security Accounts Online
  8. Holidays
  9. Contacts and Information

U.S. Diplomatic Mission to 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. Update on Notarial Services

U.S. consular officers may perform notarial acts for use in the United States only, with few exceptions (Turkish residency and marriage).  If your document is for use in Turkey, obtain a notarial service locally.

  • Please schedule an online appointment before you visit the Consular Section: https://tr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/acs-appointments/
  • U.S. citizens or foreign nationals having business with U.S. may obtain notary services for documents for use in the United States.
  • The fee for all notarial services is $50 for each consular signature.  You may pay by cash or credit card in dollars or the Turkish lira equivalent at the Embassy/Consulate.
  • Along with your documents, you must provide proof of identity.
  • If your notarial service requires witnesses, witnesses must come with you to the Consular Section.  The Embassy does not provide witnesses.
  • Please do not sign your documents in advance.  You are required to sign them in front of the consular officer.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the Consulates in Istanbul and Adana are not authorized to perform authentications of seals and official signatures on public documents issued in the United States, such as birth certificates, notarials, court orders, school records, etc.  Please obtain an apostille certification from the authority that issued the document.  Turkey and the United States are both signatories to the Hague Apostille Convention; information on this topic can also be found at the State Department’s website here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/travel-legal-considerations/intl-treaties.html

  1. Istanbul’s New Airport

Istanbul’s new international airport officially opened on October 29, 2018, and Turkish Airlines transferred domestic and international flights to the new airport April 5-7, 2019. Amenities in the new airport’s vicinity, such as hotels and public transportation, are currently limited.  We advise U.S. citizens to monitor flight details carefully, plan travel to the airport well in advance, and contact their airline for the latest updates.

Are you or your family members and friends traveling to Turkey soon?  U.S. citizens travelling to Turkey should obtain an electronic visa (“e-visa”) prior to travel. Visit Turkey’s official e-visa portal: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/.

  1. Prepare for Summer Travel Now

If you are planning international travel later this year, now is the time to make sure you are prepared.  Get informed by reading the Travel Advisory and Alerts for the countries you will visit.  Take into consideration crisis planning, health precautions, and money matters.  Obtain your required travel documents by applying for or renewing your passport and obtaining visas.  Enroll in the Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) and purchase travel insurance.

Learn more by reviewing the Department of State’s Traveler’s Checklist:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-checklist.html

If you are traveling to the United States with friends or family who require U.S. visas to visit, please visit our website for more information about how they can apply for a visa.

Non-Immigrant Visa services in Turkey: https://tr.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/

  1. Renewing Passports by Mail

Did you know you can renew your passport by mail? Renew by mail if your most recent U.S. passport:

  • is undamaged and can be submitted with your application
  • was issued when you were age 16 or older
  • was issued within the last 15 years
  • was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change

First, fill out your application form online using the Passport Wizard at https://pptform.state.gov/, then print and sign the application form.  The form must be completed online.  We do not accept hand-filled applications.

Include the following items in your mail-in application:

  • Printed and signed application form
  • 2” x 2” passport photograph taken within the last six months
  • Your most recently issued U.S. passport
  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Payment via cashier’s check

You must pay with a cashier’s check (bloke döviz çeki or yurtiçi döviz çeki) issued by Garanti Bank and sent with the application.  We cannot accept cash for mail-in applications.  The regular passport application fee is U.S. $110. If you are applying for a passport card, the passport card application fee is U.S. $30.  Expedited services are not available in Turkey, so please do not include an expedited service fee in your check.  Processing time is normally about 2-3 weeks.  We will return your passport via UPS, which charges a fee for the service on delivery. Send your application to either U.S. Consulate Istanbul or U.S. Embassy Ankara depending on which district you live in. Consulate Adana and the Izmir Consular Agency do not accept applications by mail. Full mailing addresses and instructions for renewing passports by mail are on our website here: https://tr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/renew-a-passport/

  1. Avoiding Internet Scams

Be wary of potential internet scams!  Never send money to someone you have not met in person.  Think twice if the person you met online suddenly reports problems overseas and asks for money to pay their hospital bills, visa fees, or legal expenses.  Visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/international-financial-scams.html for information on scams.  If your friend or loved ones are truly facing a serious issue in Turkey, please instruct them to contact the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy.

  1. Voting Overseas

Several states will host gubernatorial or legislative elections in 2019.  The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recommends that all overseas U.S. citizens send in a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) early in every year which they intend to vote.  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 would like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process please go to FVAP.gov or call FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email vote@fvap.gov.  Toll-free phone numbers from 67 countries are listed at FVAP.gov.  Find FVAP on Facebook at facebook.com/DoDFVAP and follow @FVAP on Twitter.

  1. Social Security Accounts Online

By creating a “my Social Security” account online, you can replace a lost or stolen Social Security card, get a copy of your 1099 (SSA-1099), and check the status of your Social Security benefit application or claim.  You can set up or change direct deposit information online, change your address, or have instant access to your benefit verification letter – all helpful for U.S. citizens living abroad!  More information is here: https://blog.ssa.gov/see-what-you-can-do-online-during-national-social-security-month/

  1. Holidays

U.S. Mission Turkey offices will be closed on the following U.S. and Turkish holidays:
Wednesday, May 1                                          Labor and Solidarity Day
Sunday, May 19                                              Ataturk Memorial, Youth and Sports Day
Monday, May 27                                             Memorial Day
Monday, June 3 – Friday, June 7                     Ramadan Holiday

  1. Contacts and Information

Country-Specific Information on Turkey: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/turkey.html
Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP): https://step.state.gov/step/

Embassy Ankara
110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere 06100, Ankara
Tel: (90) (312) 455-5555
Fax: (90) (312) 468-6131
https://tr.usembassy.gov/

Consulate General Istanbul
Poligon Mahallesi, Sarıyer Caddesi, No: 75, Istinye 34460, Sarıyer
Tel: (90) (212) 335-9000
Fax: (90) (212) 335-9102
https://tr.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/istanbul/

Consulate Adana
Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir
Tel: (90) (322) 455-4100
Fax (90) (322) 455-4141
https://tr.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/adana/

Consular Agent Izmir
Izmir@state.gov

Federal Benefits Unit and Veterans Services (Regional – Embassy Athens)
Tel: (30) (210) 720-2426
Fax: (30) (210) 720-0509
https://athens.usembassy.gov/federal_benefits.html
FBU.Athens@ssa.gov