Newsletter

August 27, 2021
Featured in this issue:

  1. Updated Turkey Travel Advisory
  2. New Turkish COVID-19 Restrictions beginning September 6, 2021
  3. Bringing a Dog into the United States
  4. Returning to the United States on an Expired U.S. Passport
  5. Renewing your U.S. Passport by Mail
  6. COVID-19 Entry Requirements for the United States
  7. COVID-19 Entry Requirements for Turkey
  8. Foreigners Communication Center YIMER 157
  9. Anniversary of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)
  10. What people should and should not do if they get mail from the IRS
  11. Upcoming Holidays
  12. 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. Updated Travel Advisory for Turkey

The Travel Advisory for Turkey was updated on August 16, 2021.  You may find the updated travel advisory here.

2. New Turkish COVID-19 Restrictions

Intercity Travel: Starting September 6, intercity travel by plane, bus, train, or other public transportation will require proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken 48 hours prior to travel.  Travel using a private vehicle will not require proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.

Business Operation Restrictions: Starting September 6, entry into establishments such as concerts, cinemas, theaters, and crowded events will require proof of vaccination, or a negative PCR test taken 48 hours prior to the event.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 restrictions in Turkey please visit our website: https://tr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/

3. Bringing a Dog into the United States

Beginning July 14, 2021, there is a temporary suspension for dogs imported to the United States from countries deemed high-risk for dog rabies.  Turkey is among these high-risk countries.  CDC is able to issue a CDC Dog Import Permit to U.S. citizens and lawful residents relocating to the United States from high-risk countries which will allow them to bring their dogs into the United States.  Such permits will be issued on an extremely limited basis.

As of August 2, CDC has moved the permit application process from email to an online portal.  Anyone who applied through the CDC Animal Imports email address and is waiting to receive an approval must apply again through the portal.  The CDC expects the new portal will significantly speed up the review and approval of permits.  Previously approved permits remain valid.

First 90-Day Transition Process
From July 14 through October 14, 2021, dogs coming from high-risk countries with CDC Dog Import Permits can enter the United States at one of these 18 airports: Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit, Honolulu, Houston (IAH), Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York (JFK), Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle and Washington, DC (Dulles).

After October 14, 2021, dogs coming from high-risk countries with CDC Dog Import Permits must enter only at approved ports of entry.

All dogs imported into the United States must be healthy on arrival.

Dogs that have not been in a high-risk country in the previous 6 months are not required by CDC to present a rabies vaccination certificate or other paperwork, but vaccination against rabies is recommended.

4. Returning to the United States on an Expired U.S. Passport

If you are overseas and your passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021.

You qualify for this exception if all of the following are true:

  • You are a U.S. citizen.
  • You are currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States
  • You are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (“connecting flights”) through a foreign country on your direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
  • Your expired passport was originally valid for 10 years. Or, if you were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, your expired passport was valid for 5 years.
  • Your expired passport is undamaged.
  • Your expired passport is unaltered.
  • Your expired passport is in your possession.

You do not qualify for this exception if:

  • You wish to depart from the United States to an international destination.
  • You are currently abroad seeking to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the United States or to a United States territory.
  • Your expired passport was limited in validity.
  • Your expired passport is a special issuance passport (such as a diplomatic, official, service, or no-fee regular passport).
  • Your expired passport is damaged.
  • Your expired passport is altered.
  • Your expired passport is not in your possession.

All other passport rules and regulations remain in effect. The Department of Homeland Security maintains discretion to reject any bearer in accordance with 22 CFR 53.2(b)(7) and 8 CFR 235.1(b).

5. U.S. passport renewals by mail

Certain adults may qualify to renew their U.S. passport by mail. Click here to view our video for more information:

6. COVID-19 Entry Requirements for the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all air passengers entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.  Airlines must confirm the negative test result or proof of recovery for all passengers two years of age and over prior to boarding.  Airlines must deny boarding of passengers who do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery.

Please see CDC’s FAQ for answers to questions about the new requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States.

*This information is current as of the date of this newsletter, please visit https://tr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/ for most updated information.

7. COVID-19 Entry Requirements for Turkey

Passengers who have been in Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka in the last 14 days must submit a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to entering Turkey and undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine. Passengers will be given a PCR test on the 14th day of quarantine and, if the test result is negative, they will be released from quarantine.  If the PCR test result is positive, passengers will be placed in isolation and tested again after 14 days.

Passengers who traveled to Turkey from Afghanistan and Pakistan or who have been in these countries in the last 14 days must undergo quarantine for 10 days.  Passengers will be given a PCR test on the 7th day of quarantine and, if the test result is negative, they will be released from quarantine.  If the PCR test result is still positive, measures will be taken in accordance with the Ministry of Health COVID-19 guidelines.

Passengers entering Turkey from countries not included in the first two paragraphs above will not be required to submit a negative PCR test result if they submit a document issued by the relevant country’s official authorities stating that they have been vaccinated at least 14 days before entrance to Turkey and/or have had the disease and cured within the last 6 months. Quarantine measures will not be applied for these passengers. If passengers departing from these countries cannot submit a vaccine certificate or the documents proving that they have had the disease according to the stated rules, submission of a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours before entering Turkey or negative rapid antigen test result taken within 48 hours before entering Turkey will be deemed sufficient.

*This information is current as of the date of this newsletter, please visit https://tr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/ for most updated information.

8. Foreigners Communication Center YIMER 157

YIMER 157 is a phone number where foreigners living in Turkey can call to ask questions about issues such as visa, residence permit, international protection and temporary protection.  They also provide life-saving service for the foreigners who are victims of migrant smuggling at sea.  The operate an uninterrupted service 24/7 in order to identify victims of human trafficking and conduct rescue operations.

YIMER 157 offers assistance in seven languages – Turkish, English, Arabic, Russian, Persian, German and Pashto.

YIMER 157, which can be accessed within the country and abroad for “accurate, fast and reliable information”, aims to be the first address for foreigners’ questions and problems.

Web: http://yimer.gov.tr
 E-Mail: yimer@goc.gov.tr
Fax: 90 (312) 920-06-09

9. Anniversary of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)

On August 28, FVAP will celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).  Thanks to the law’s protections, uniformed military members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens are eligible to receive their requested absentee ballot up to 45 days before a federal election.  More so, UOCAVA voters can request that a blank ballot be sent to them electronically (by email or fax).  More information about UOCAVA can be found here: https://www.fvap.gov/info/laws/uocava.

Twitter: @FVAP
Facebook: @DoDFVAP
Instagram:@fvapgov

10. Best practices when receiving mail from the IRS

Every year the IRS mails letters or notices to taxpayers for many different reasons. Typically, it’s about a specific issue with a taxpayer’s federal tax return or tax account. A notice may tell them about changes to their account or ask for more information. It could also tell them they need to make a payment. This year, people might have also received correspondence about Economic Impact Payments or an advance child tax credit outreach letter.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for anyone who receives mail from the IRS:

  • Don’t ignore it. Most IRS letters and notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. Each notice deals with a specific issue and includes specific instructions on what to do
  • Don’t throw it away. Taxpayers should keep notices or letters they receive from the IRS. These include adjustment notices when an action is taken on the taxpayer’s account, Economic Impact Payment notices, and letters about advance payments of the 2021 child tax credit. They may need to refer to these when filing their 2021 tax return in 2022. In general, the IRS suggests that taxpayers keep records for three years from the date they filed the tax return.
  • Don’t panic. The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies do send letters by mail. Most of the time, all the taxpayer needs to do is read the letter carefully and take the appropriate action.
  • Don’t reply unless instructed to do so. There is usually no need for a taxpayer to reply to a notice unless specifically instructed to do so. On the other hand, taxpayers who owe should reply with a payment. IRS.gov has information about payment options.
  • Do avoid scams. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer using social media or text message. The first contact from the IRS usually comes in the mail. Taxpayers who are unsure if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov
  • Do take timely action. A notice may reference changes to a taxpayer’s account, taxes owed, a payment request or a specific issue on a tax return. Acting timely could minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
  • Do review the information. If a letter is about a changed or corrected tax return, the taxpayer should review the information and compare it with the original return. If the taxpayer agrees, they should make notes about the corrections on their personal copy of the tax return and keep it for their records.
  • Do respond to a disputed notice. If a taxpayer doesn’t agree with the IRS, they should mail a letter explaining why they dispute the notice. They should mail it to the address on the contact stub included with the notice. The taxpayer should include information and documents for the IRS to review when considering the dispute.
  • Do remember there is usually no need to call the IRS. If a taxpayer must contact the IRS by phone, they should use the number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. The taxpayer should have a copy of their tax return and letter when calling the agency.

More Information:
Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter
Tax Topic 651,  Notices – What to Do
Tax Topic 653, IRS Notices and Bills, Penalties, and Interest Charges
Tax Topic 654, Understanding Your CP75 or CP75A Notice Request for Supporting Documentation
Here’s why some people got more than one notice about their Economic Impact Payments

11. Upcoming Holidays

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

Monday, August 30 Victory Day
Monday, September 6 Labor Day
Monday, October 11 Columbus Day

12. Contacts and Information

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)
https://athens.usembassy.gov/federal_benefits.html
 FBU.Athens@ssa.gov