January 14, 2020
Featured in this issue:
- American Liaison Network Program and Community Liaison Volunteers
- Turkish Government Resources Available to Foreigners Living in Turkey
- Turkish Government Announces Elimination of Extension of Residence Permits in Turkey for Touristic Purpose
- Joint Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) FAQ
- Beware of Social Security Scams
- Voting in 2020 U.S. Elections
- U.S. Visas: Please remind your family and friends to apply early
- Points of Contact and General 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. American Liaison Network Program and Community Liaison Volunteers
The U.S. Mission to Turkey would like to invite those U.S. citizens who are residing as permanent residents in Turkey to volunteer as a Community Liaison Volunteers (CLV) to reach out to other U.S. citizen residents in their district for regular information updates and to help safeguard their security in Turkey. A CLV is a U.S. citizen who volunteers to assist consular sections in host countries around the world in disaster preparedness and emergency services for their fellow citizens. CLVs are unpaid volunteers, who are valued contacts of the U.S. Mission. We rely on CLVs to help disseminate news, disaster preparedness info, and emergency travel advisories, and on rare occasions, we may ask for your assistance to extend a helping hand to a fellow citizen. If you are interested in performing this valuable service for the American Embassy in Turkey, please send us an email at: CLV_Turkey@state.gov.
2. Turkish Government Resources Available to Foreigners Living in Turkey
The Turkish Directorate General for Migration Management (DGMM) has published several useful brochures for foreigners living in Turkey which may be of use to you. Please note: These publications represent Government of Turkey opinions and are not affiliated with official U.S. government policy or guidance to U.S. citizens resident in Turkey.
3. Turkish Government Announces Elimination of Extension of Residence Permits in Turkey for Touristic Purpose
On December 2, 2019, DGMM announced that as of January 1, 2020, foreigners who have been granted a one-year or longer residence permit for tourist purposes, cannot extend their residency permit again for the same purpose.
4. Joint Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) FAQ
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is an important development in U.S. efforts to combat tax evasion by U.S. persons holding accounts and other financial assets offshore.
Under FATCA, certain U.S. taxpayers holding financial assets outside the United States must report those assets to the IRS on Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. There are serious penalties for not reporting these financial assets.
On April 1, the GAO issued GAO-19-180 regarding foreign asset reporting. The GAO recommended the Secretary of the Treasury lead efforts, in coordination with the Secretary of State and Commissioner of Social Security, to collaboratively address ongoing issues—including those related to accessing financial services, accepting employment, and obtaining social security numbers—that U.S. citizens living abroad encounter as a result of FATCA reporting requirements. They prepared a FAQ document to address the inquiries which can be found here.
5. Beware of Social Security Scams
Social Security phone scams are the number one type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission and Social Security. Over the past year, these scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Social Security encourages you to use the new online formto report Social Security phone scams to disrupt the scammers and help us reduce this type of fraud, and reduce the number of victims.
Social Security employees will occasionally contact you by telephone or mail for business purposes if you have ongoing business with the agency.
Social Security employees will NEVER:
- Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended.
- Contact you to demand an immediate payment.
- Ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a prepaid debit card, a retail gift card, or cash.
- Demand that you pay a Social Security debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
- Promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money.
- Remember that Social Security employees will never threaten you.
If there is a problem with your Social Security record, Social Security will mail you a letter. If Social Security needs you to submit payments, the agency will provide instructions in the letter, including options to make those payments
“Awareness is our best hope to thwart the scammers,” said Gail Ennis, Inspector General for Social Security. “Tell your friends and family about them and report them to us when you receive them, but most importantly, just hang up and ignore the calls.”
You can learn more on SSA’s press release.
6. Voting in 2020 U.S. Elections
Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world!
Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more. Once you confirm your registration, follow a few simple steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:
Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory. FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA.
Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option for receiving your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way for you to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.
Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.
Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, then you can do so free of charge at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate by either mailing us your ballots through the Turkish postal service or a local courier service, at your expense (in a labeled envelope addressed to your local election officials, with postage affixed) or you can drop your ballot at the U.S. Mission in Turkey by scheduling an online notarial appointment here. Please note that it can take up to four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent by an embassy or consulate via diplomatic pouch. All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots accordingly.
If more convenient for you, you can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain on-line. You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the Voting Assistance Officer at:
U.S. Embassy Ankara: VoteAnkara@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General Istanbul: VoteIstanbul@state.gov
U.S. Consulate Adana: VoteAdana@state.gov
Remember, your vote counts!
7. U.S. Visas: Please remind your family and friends to apply early
If you have family or friends in Turkey who are thinking about traveling to the U.S. this Spring or Summer, we urge them to apply early. Our busy season starts in March and it will take longer to schedule an appointment after that. They don’t need finalized plans to apply for their visa. They can visit our website for more information about how to apply: https://tr.usembassy.gov/visas/
U.S. Mission Turkey offices will be closed on the following U.S. and Turkish holidays:
Monday, January 20 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Monday, February 17 Washington’s Birthday
9. Points of Contact and General Information
U.S. Embassy Ankara
110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere 06100, Ankara
Tel: (90) (312) 455-5555
Fax: (90) (312) 468-6131
U.S. Consulate General Istanbul
Poligon Mahallesi, Sarıyer Caddesi, No: 75, Istinye 34460, Sarıyer
Tel: (90) (212) 335-9000
Fax: (90) (212) 335-9102
U.S. Consulate Adana
Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir
Tel: (90) (322) 455-4100
Fax (90) (322) 455-4141
U.S. Consular Agent Izmir
Federal Benefits Unit and Veterans Services (Regional – Embassy Athens)