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Here are the topics for this month
- Is Your Child a Victim of International Parental Child Abduction?
- IRS Representative to Visit Tokyo to Consult with Americans
- Attention Florida, North Carolina and Indiana Voters
- New Law Makes Absentee Voting Easier for Overseas Americans
- Proposal for Changes in Schedule of Fees for Consular Services
- Upcoming Holidays and ACS Office Closures
- Appointments are required for Tokyo ACS services
- Naha consulate appointments now available online
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry Program
- Security Delays for U.S. Flights
- Security Situation - Travel Warnings and Alerts
- Country Specific Information Available at Travel.State.Gov
- While in Japan, carry your passport or alien registration at all times
- Department of State Online Travel Registration
With the rise in the number of international marriages, an increasing number of Americans face the problem of parental child abduction in which one parent takes a child away from the child's other parent, and denies the "left-behind parent" access to the child. The U.S. Embassy has called upon Japan to accede to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, as well as to implement measures to enable parents who are separated from their children to maintain contact with them and ensure visitation rights, and to establish a framework for resolution of current child abduction cases. The U.S. Embassy urges American parents who are in this situation to contact the Consular Section at 03-3224-5000 or email@example.com.
On April 6-7, 2010, a representative of the Internal Revenue Service will visit Tokyo and will be available for 15-minute private consultations with U.S. tax payers. There will also be a presentation followed by a question and answer period on one of the two days. More details will be provided in the April newsletter. However, if you are interested in making an appointment for a consultation, please send an e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use the subject line: Tax Consultation Appointment Request. Please tell us which day you would like to come in, and whether a morning or afternoon appointment is preferred. You will be notified of your scheduled appointment by e-mail.
On Tuesday, April 13, 2010 Florida will hold a special general election to fill the congressional vacancy left by the resignation of Congressman Robert Wexler. The 19th Congressional District includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
North Carolina and Indiana will hold State primary elections on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. If you are eligible to vote in this election, and requested and received a ballot for the November 4, 2008, presidential election, you will automatically receive an absentee ballot and need not take any further action unless your mailing address has changed.
For more information, please visit this online site and click on the news release for your state.
On October 28, 2009, Congress enacted the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. This legislation amends existing law regarding overseas voting in federal elections, and should make voting easier for overseas Americans. This information was featured in a special release of this newsletter. For more information, please visit www.fvap.gov. (Please note: The warden message issued February 23, 2010, had an incorrect domain address. The correct address is www.fvap.gov. We regret any inconvenience this has caused.)
On Feb. 9, 2010 the Department of State published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to change certain consular fees, including those related to U.S. passport and passport card applications, immigrant visas, and other services provided to U.S. and foreign citizens. The proposed rule to change fees is based on a comprehensive cost of service study completed in June 2009. As demand for passports increased to an average of 15 million per year, the increase in certain fees will help cover actual operating expenses for the Department of State's 301 consular posts abroad, 23 domestic passport agencies, and other centers that provide consular services to both U.S. and foreign citizens. However, improvements in automated systems have also decreased some fees, such as the application fee for determining returning resident status.
The Department will not begin collecting either of these new proposed fees until it fully considers public comments and publishes a final rule. In order to view both proposed rules and to submit comments, please go to www.regulations.gov. To view the proposed rule released on Feb. 9 and to submit comments, please click here. Written comments must be received on or before March 8, 2010. To see the original notice on our website, please visit this online page.
The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates on Japan will be closed for the following U.S. or Japanese holidays in January 2010:
|Vernal Equinox (Japanese holiday)||Monday, March 22|
A full list of all of our holiday closings is available online here.
American citizens who require emergency assistance during holidays should contact the office serving their part of Japan, a list of which is available online here.
To view the business hours for the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and all of the U.S. Consulates in Japan, please check here.
The American Citizen Services section at Embassy Tokyo provides all routine services on an appointment-only basis. The Embassy is unable to accommodate applicants without an appointment. Emergency services are available without an appointment.
Appointments are needed for all Passport services, Consular Report of Birth applications and notary services.
Federal Benefits services are provided on an appointment-only basis. Please see the Federal Benefits webpage for details.
The ACS branch in Tokyo is closed on Wednesday afternoons.
This announcement does not affect U.S. Consulates elsewhere in Japan. For information on operating hours and ACS services provided by Consulates in Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka-Kobe, Fukuoka, and Naha, please see their individual web pages.
In order to better serve American citizens in Okinawa and reduce wait times, the U.S. Consulate General, Naha, has implemented a new online appointment system. Currently, all non-emergency American Citizen Services in Naha are offered on an appointment-only basis. Appointments are required for all passport services, consular report of birth abroad applications, notary services, and federal benefits services.
For details on the new appointment system at Consulate General, Naha, application requirements, and hours of service, please check this online page.
For links to similar consular services at U.S. Embassy Tokyo or other consulates around Japan, please consult the Embassy website.
Global Entry is a pilot program managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers expedited clearance upon arrival into the United States. Although this program is intended for "frequent travelers" who make several international trips per year, there is no minimum number of trips an applicant must make in order to qualify. Participants may enter the United States by utilizing automated kiosks located at airports such as Washington Dulles (IAD), Los Angeles International (LAX), John F. Kennedy (JFK), Honolulu International (HNL), and many more. Currently, 20 airports are participating in Global Entry.
The process requires participants to present their machine-readable U.S. passport or permanent resident card, submit their fingerprints for biometric verification, and make a customs declaration at the kiosk's touch-screen. Upon successful completion of the Global Entry process at the kiosk, the traveler is issued a transaction receipt and directed to baggage claim and the exit, unless chosen for a selective or random secondary referral.
Additional information, including how to enroll, is available from the Department of Homeland Security online here.
Flights arriving to and departing from the United States may experience delays due to increased security measures. Passengers should plan to arrive early at airports overseas and in the U.S. For more information on these increased security measures, please see the Transportation Security Administration website.
Security reminder: There is no specific threat information for American citizens in Japan. However, it's a good idea for you and your family to review your personal security profile and to be aware of your surroundings at all times. The Department of State maintains its Worldwide Caution issued Feb. 12, 2010, which updated information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against American citizens and interests throughout the world.
Since our previous ACS Newsletter, the U.S. Department of State has issued new Travel Warnings for the following countries. This information is available online here.
Since our previous ACS Newsletter, the U.S. Department of State has issued Travel Warnings for the following countries:
|Central African Republic||2/26/2010|
Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.
The U.S. Department of State also has issued new Travel Alerts for:
Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information about short-term conditions generally within a particular country or region that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events are examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert. This information is available online here.
The most up-to-date information regarding permitted and prohibited items on flights can be viewed online here.
For additional information, please visit "Americans Traveling Abroad" on the U.S. Department of State website. Students traveling abroad may wish to visit the State Department site designed especially for them.
To obtain up-to-date information on security conditions, please call 1-888-407-4747 (toll free in the United States), or +1-202-501-4444 if you are outside the United States.
Country Specific Information is available for every country of the world on the State Department's travel information website. These pages include such information as the location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. Visit this online page to view information for any country in the world.
All Americans in Japan are reminded that Japan's Immigration Control Act requires all foreigners 16 years old and older to carry their passport or alien registration card with them at all times. Foreigners in Japan must present these identity documents upon request from an authorized immigration official or police officer. The Embassy has been notified of Americans being detained by police for not carrying these documents. Foreigners in possession of an alien registration card are not required to also carry their passport, but visitors without the card need to carry their passport. A foreign national who does not obey this requirement will face criminal penalty under Article 76 of the Immigration Control Act, or possibly an administrative penalty under Article 77-2 of the act.
The Department of State maintains a secure online travel registration website which will allow you, as an American citizen, to record foreign trip and residence information that the Department of State can use to communicate with you and assist you in case of an emergency. U.S. citizens around the world who travel or reside abroad can register at http://travelregistration.state.gov. If you encounter any difficulties or have any questions about our travel registration website, please send an e-mail to CAIbrs@state.gov.
If you are departing from Japan after a long stay here, and you formally registered your stay with the Embassy or closest U.S. consulate, please be sure to "cancel" your registration when you leave.
You can deregister yourself by visiting the travelregistration.state.gov site.
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American Embassy in Tokyo
American Citizen Services
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
The Embassy helps Americans in Tokyo, Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Yamagata and Yamanashi.
American Consulate General Sapporo
American Citizen Services
Kita 1-jo, Nishi 28-chome
Chuo-ku, Sapporo 064-0821
The Consulate in Sapporo helps Americans in Akita, Aomori, Hokkaido, Iwate and Miyagi. As there are times when both officers are away from the office, we ask that you make an appointment before coming to the Consulate General.
American Consulate Nagoya
Nagoya International Center Bldg. 6th floor
1-47-1 Nagono, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya 450-0001
TEL (052) 581-4501
FAX (052) 581-3190
Consulate Nagoya provides emergency consular services including death and arrest cases for Americans living in Aichi, Gifu, and Mie prefectures. Please call Nagoya or Osaka for confirmation before traveling to Nagoya if you believe you have an emergency situation. Routine American Citizen services are provided by appointment only. If an appointment is not available, American residents may also receive service at the Consulate in Osaka.
American Consulate General Osaka-Kobe
American Citizen Services
11-5, Nishitenma 2-chome
Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543
The Consulate in Osaka helps Americans in Osaka, Aichi, Ehime, Fukui, Gifu, Hiroshima, Hyogo, Ishikawa, Kagawa, Kochi, Kyoto, Mie, Nara, Okayama, Shimane, Shiga, Tokushima, Tottori, Toyama, Wakayama.
American Consulate Fukuoka
American Citizen Services
5-26, Ohori 2-chome
Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0052
The Consulate in Fukuoka helps Americans in Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Oita, Saga and Yamaguchi prefectures. All American Citizen Services are by appointment only.
American Consulate General Naha
The Consulate in Naha helps Americans in Okinawa and the Amami Oshima Island group (which is the southern island group of Kagoshima Prefecture).
Travel, safety and security information is also available directly from the Department of State.
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