Newsletter (February 21, 2019)

Featured in this issue:

  1. Turkey Travel Advisory and Worldwide Caution
  2. Transition to Istanbul’s New Airport
  3. Prepare for Spring and Summer Travel Now
  4. Personal Security While Abroad
  5. Voting Overseas
  6. The Selective Service System
  7. 2018 Tax Season
  8. Holidays
  9. Contacts and Information

You may visit our website at any time to make an appointment or access the latest messages and local resources:

  1. Turkey Travel Advisory and Worldwide Caution
    The Department of State recently updated the Turkey Travel Advisory and the Worldwide Caution.
    Turkey Travel Advisory:
    Worldwide Caution:
  2. Transition to Istanbul’s New Airport
    Istanbul’s new international airport (ISL) officially opened on October 29, 2018.  However, international and domestic flights are gradually being transferred from Ataturk Airport (IST) to ISL, with flights operating into and out of both airports.  Flight delays and cancellations may occur, and the two airports are located a significant distance apart.  In addition, we anticipate increased traffic congestion around both airports during the transition.  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 the airline for the latest update.
  3. Prepare for Spring and 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: apply for or renew your passport and obtain 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:|

    If you are traveling to the United States with friends or family who require U.S. visas to visit, you may visit our website for more information about how they can apply for a visa.  Presently interview wait times are short, but summer is coming, so apply now before the summer rush begins.
    Non-Immigrant Visa services in Turkey:

  4. Personal Security While Abroad
    The Department of State publishes information online to help you stay safe while travelling or living abroad.  When planning a trip, and prior to departing the United States, U.S. citizens should consult country-specific Travel Advisories and information pages on

    Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.  The Department uses alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc.  In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate or call the following numbers: 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.

    Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
    Travel.State.Gov International Travel Information
    Traveler’s Checklist
    Turkey Country Information

  5. 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 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.

  6. The Selective Service System
    A draft is the mandatory enrollment of individuals into the armed forces.  The United States military has been all-volunteer since 1973.  But the government maintains the ability to reinstate the draft in case of a national emergency.  The Selective Service System is the agency that registers men and is responsible for running a draft.

    Who Must Register with the Selective Service
    Almost all men age 18-25 who are U.S. citizens or are immigrants living in the U.S. are required to be registered with Selective Service.  U.S. law calls for citizens to register within 30 days of turning 18 and immigrants to register within 30 days of arriving in the U.S.

    Men in the U.S. on student, visitor, or diplomatic visas and women are not required to register.  For other exemptions and cases, see the Who Must Register chart.

    How to Register with the Selective Service System
    There are several ways to register with Selective Service, including registering online or printing and mailing the registration form.  More information is available here:

    Find answers to frequently asked registration and draft questions on the Selective Service System’s FAQ page, To contact the Selective Service System, call 1-847-688-6888 or toll-free 1-888-655-1825 Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM ET.

    You can also email: or (Spanish). Customer service representatives will not be able to address issues requiring personally identifiable information, such as a person’s Social Security number, date of birth, or address through email.

  7. 2018 Tax Season
    The Internal Revenue Service has opened 2018 federal income tax year return filing. For most filers, tax returns will be due on Monday, April 15, 2019, for calendar year 2018 taxes.  Visit to read the review IRS Publication 5307, Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families, and to learn about how the new tax law may affect your tax return next year.

    What’s New with the Child Tax Credit
    Many people claim the child tax credit to help offset the cost of raising children.  Tax reform legislation enacted last year made changes to that credit.  Here are some important things for taxpayers to know about the changes to the credit.

    Credit amount: The new law increases the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. Eligibility for the credit has not changed.  As in past years, the credit applies if all of these apply: the child is younger than 17 at the end of the tax year, December 31, 2018; the taxpayer claims the child as a dependent; the child lives with the taxpayer for at least six months of the year.

    Credit refunds: The credit is refundable, now up to $1,400.  If a taxpayer does not owe any tax before claiming the credit, they will receive up to $1,400 as part of their refund.

    Earned income threshold: The income threshold to claim the credit has been lowered to $2,500 per family.  This means a family must earn a minimum of $2,500 to claim the credit.

    Phase out: The income threshold at which the child tax credit begins to phase out is increased to $200,000, or $400,000 if married filing jointly.

    Dependents who cannot be claimed for the child tax credit may still qualify the taxpayer for the credit for other dependents.  This is a non-refundable credit of up to $500 per qualifying person.  These dependents may also be dependent children who are age 17 or older at the end of 2018.  It also includes parents or other qualifying relatives supported by the taxpayer.

    More information:
    Publication 972, Child Tax Credit
    Withholding Calculator Frequently Asked Questions
    Tax Withholding
    Tax Reform page on

  8. Holidays
    U.S. Mission Turkey offices will be closed on the following U.S. and Turkish holidays:
    Tuesday, April 23                               National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
    Wednesday, May 1                             Labor and Solidarity Day
  9. Contacts and Information
    Country-Specific Information on Turkey

    Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP)

    Embassy Ankara
    110 Ataturk Boulevard
    Tel: (90) (312) 455-5555
    Fax: (90) (312) 468-6131

    Consulate General Istanbul
    Poligon Mahallesi, Sarıyer Caddesi, No: 75, Istinye 34460, Sarıyer
    Tel: (90) (212) 335-9000
    Fax: (90) (212) 335-9102

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

    Consular Agent Izmir

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