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Newsletters and Messages for U.S. Citizens

May 2011 American Citizens Services (ACS) Newsletter

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau

New Topics

Continuing Topics of Interest

Japan Travel Alert – Updated April 14, 2011

This Travel Alert replaces the Travel Warning for Japan dated March 31, 2011.  This Travel Alert expires on June 15, 2011.  The assessment of technical and subject matter experts across United States Government agencies is that while the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant remains serious and dynamic, the health and safety risks to areas beyond the 50 mile evacuation zone, and particularly to Tokyo, Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture), Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture) nearby U.S. military facilities and the prefectures of  Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Gunma, Iwate, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, and Yamanashi, and those portions of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures which are outside a 50 mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are low and do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens.

The Department of State has lifted Voluntary Authorized Departure, allowing dependents of the U.S. government employees to return to Japan.

The full text of the Travel Alert is available at: Japan Travel Alert (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_5437.html)

Make Your Appointments Early!

Summertime is our busy season!  As you begin to put together your summer travel plans, please remember to book appointments early for all Consulate services.  To avoid a visit to the Consulate, please use our mail-in service for adult passport renewals and added visa pages.  See our website for further details:  Passports
 
Also, for those planning trips in Asia, please keep in mind that many countries require travelers to have at least 6 months validity remaining on their passports.  Airlines will deny boarding to those who do not meet this requirement.  For specific details about entry and exit requirements for the country you plan to visit, please see our Country Information at Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

West Virginia to Hold Special Election for Governor

On Saturday, May 14, 2011, West Virginia will hold a special primary election for Governor to fulfill the unexpired term, through January 13, 2013. The vacancy was created when former Governor Joe Manchin won election to the United States Senate. This is a statewide primary election, however only the Democratic and Republican parties have chosen a primary as their method of candidate selection. The Mountain Party has chosen to hold a convention to select a candidate.

For further state specific information on voting in West Virginia please refer to: West Virginia Secretary of State website

New York to Hold a Special Election for Congress

On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, New York will hold a special election for the 26th Congressional District, to fill the seat vacated by Representative Christopher J. Lee. The 26th Congressional District includes the following counties: Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.

To determine if your legal residence is in the 26th Congressional District, go to: United States House of Representatives (www.house.gov), then use the "Find Your Representative" dialog on the upper left corner.

State specific information on precincts, candidates, elections, and voting is available at the New York state board of elections website.

Passport Integrity

A U.S. passport is a travel document issued under the authority of the Secretary of State and must be treated with care and respect.  Recently the passport unit at American Citizen Services-Hong Kong has encountered several instances where passport holders removed visas from their U.S. passport in order to give themselves more space for entry/exit stamps.  What seemed like a convenient fix turned into a major headache for these travelers.  Mutilation of passports is taken extremely seriously and can make it difficult for citizens to obtain visas and full-validity replacement passports. Any removal or alteration of visas or passport pages is considered to be passport mutilation.  Please take care of your passport and make an appointment for extra pages or a replacement passport if you’re running out of space.

Automatic Two Month Extension for Taxpayers Residing Overseas

U.S. income tax returns were due on April 15th.  However, if you reside overseas, you are given an automatic two month extension to file.

Note:  Payments are not considered received until the date of actual receipt by the IRS, not the postmark date.

Federal tax forms may be downloaded online at:  Internal Revenue Service

State tax forms are available on:  Federation of Tax Administration (FTA) State Tax Forms

In addition, please be sure to check out these helpful tools:

Pandemic Influenza Awareness

Hong Kong remains at the "Alert Response Level" for pandemic influenza as the Hong Kong government continues to assess the nature and level of influenza risks.  For recent updates related to the H5N1 virus in Hong Kong, please visit the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection's Influenza page  or the Hong Kong government's Prevention of Avian Influenza page.

For more information about flu prevention, pandemic flu and the flu situation in the United States please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website:  Flu.gov

Travel Safety Notices and Updates

Worldwide Caution:  On January 31, the Department of State issued a Worldwide Caution to all American citizens regarding the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world.  U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.  For additional information, you may find the Worldwide Caution here:  Worldwide Caution

The following Travel Warnings and Alerts remain in effect for the East Asia and Pacific Region:

  • Nepal (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_927.html)
  • Philippines (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_2190.html)

Also, please be aware of the volatile political situations in the Middle East and North Africa: Current Travel Warnings

As you make your travel plans, don’t forget to check the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site for the most current safety and security information. 

You may also receive travel alert tweets by joining the Twitter for Bureau of Consular Affairs.

 


This newsletter is published by the American Citizens Services Unit, U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau. Tel: 2841-2211; fax: 2845-4845; e-mail: acshk@state.gov; website: American Citizens Services. All services are by online appointment only. The return address listed above does not accept replies directly from this message. To contact the Consulate, please email acshk@state.gov.


Last modified: April 29, 2011

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