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    American Citizen Services provided by Consular Sections at U.S. Embassies (January 2006, updated January 2014)

    American Citizen Services provided by Consular Sections at U.S. Embassies

    U.S. Embassies are an extension of the U.S. State Department abroad. They may be found as listed by country at: http://www.usembassy.gov/

    A presentation of what American Citizen Services are provided by the Consular Sections at the Embassies is listed below. Child Custody Issues.  The main office in the State Department that deals with a broad range of children's issues, including international adoption and child abduction, is the Office of Children's Issues at  http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

    Federal Benefits

    1. Social Security Benefits    http://www.socialsecurity.gov

    2. Social Security Numbers (SSN) http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber/  
            * New rules for getting a social security number and card. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10120.html#top          

    * Social security number for children.  http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10023.html

    Notaries Service    

    * The Consular Officer acts as a U.S. notary public for documents to be used in the U.S.    

    * Some documents to be used in the U.S. can be signed before a foreign authority competent to notarize or legalize signatures. Under the Hague Convention, the standard certification provided to authenticate documents is called an apostille.   http://travel.state.gov/law/judicial/judicial_5188.html

    Passport Services and Citizenship   

    1. Passports - new applications, renewals, amendments and replacements     

          * All passport applications are forwarded by the Embassy to the U.S. for passport printing. Apply for passport renewal well in advance of expected travel, or expiration of your passport. Do NOT send your applications directly to the U.S.      

         * Minors under 16 years of age are required to apply in person. Furthermore, for children under 14 years of age, both parents'/guardians' signatures are required on passport applications signed in front of a Consular Officer at the Embassy.   

    2. Reports of births abroad    

       A child born abroad to a married couple when the one U.S. citizen parent meets the physical presence requirement in the U.S. may acquire U.S. citizenship. For the child born after November 14, 1986, the parent's physical presence is 5 years with 2 of those 5 years after the age of 14.

       3. Dual Citizenship   

        Important Notice: According to Section 215 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1185) it is illegal for an American citizen to enter or leave the U.S. on anything other than an American document. This especially applies to dual citizens  

      4. How to obtain vital records, such as birth, marriage, divorce and death records.     .
    Registration with the Embassy and Warden System

        * Travel Registration
          Secure on-line registration is available for U.S. citizens travelling to or living in a foreign country. Data provided to the State Department is subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act (5 USC 552a). The purpose is to notify U.S. citizens in cases of emergencies, disasters or other crises for assistance or evacuation coordination.  https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs.

        * Warden System   

       Registration is possible with some embassies to obtain e-mail information, including security warnings, travel advisories, tax and voting information and other consular services notices.

    Selective Service    

    * Registration in the Selective Service is required of young men between18 and 26 years of age upon reaching age 18 and can be done on-line at http://www.sss.gov. It is a civic and legal responsibility.   

      * Failure to do so can lead to prosecution and fines up to $250,000 and/or jail for 5 years.  

       * Registration is a requirement to qualify for Federal student aid, job training benefits and most Federal employment. Tax Information  

      1. Tax assistance        

       * All U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live in the world, must report their worldwide income to the IRS each year. They are generally required to file income tax returns even though they may owe little or no tax after considering foreign tax credits and foreign earned income exclusion. It is important to file every year with the IRS even though you have not earned taxable amounts.    

           * NEW! Starting with 2005 income tax returns, individuals will be able to use a single IRS form (Form 4868) to get an automatic 6-month extension to file. Taxpayers living outside the U.S. are normally allowed an automatic 2-month extension to June 15th without filing Form 4868.      

         * An Internal Revenue Service Representative may visit your Embassy to conduct a tax assistance seminar and/or to provide individual counselling on tax questions. Tax assistants may be available at your embassy. Federal tax forms are available upon request or may be retrieved directly from the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov.

       2. Individual tax identification number (ITIN)      

         * An ITIN number is a nine-digit number issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer number, but do not have and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN).          

    * How to get an ITIN.  http://www.socialsecurity.gov          

    * A W-7 form must be completed. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Form-W-7,-Application-for-IRS-Individual-Taxpayer-Identification-Number

    Voting information  

       * Exercise your right to vote by registering in the state of your last residence by absentee ballot.   

      * A Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form may be obtained at your embassy along with your home state's registration procedures.   

      * Further information may be obtained on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at https://fawco.overseasvotefoundation.org/vote/home.htm

    * Notarization, if needed, is also provided at embassies.

    Other Services  

       * Legal assistance  

       * English speaking associations  

       * Schools    

    * Health    

    * Travel advice   

      * Emergency services

    Dorothy S.
    Chair Citizenship Committee

    January 2006 (Updated, 7 January 2014, Judy Furukawa, Citizenship Committee Chair)

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