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Newsletters and Messages for U.S. Citizens

October 2011 American Citizens Services (ACS) Newsletter

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau

New Topics

Continuing Topics of Interest

Worldwide Travel Alert

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for retaliation against U.S. citizens and interests following the deaths of key figures in the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula on
September 30. This Travel Alert expires on November 30, 2011.

On 30 September, U.S. and Yemeni government officials confirmed that dual U.S.-Yemeni citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, the external operations leader of Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed in Yemen. Open source information also indicates that U.S. citizen and AQAP propagandist Samir Khan was killed along with him. Awlaki played a key role in advancing AQAP plots targeting the
United States.

The death of Awlaki, in the near term, could provide motivation for anti-American attacks worldwide from individuals or groups seeking to retaliate against U.S. citizens or interests because of this action. In the past Awlaki and other members of AQPA have called for attacks against the United States, U.S. citizens and U.S. interests. Awlaki's standing as a preeminent English- language advocate of violence could potentially trigger anti-American acts worldwide to avenge his death.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy/consulates to contact them in case of emergency.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1- 202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on facebook as well.

For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Emergencies and Crisis.

For further inquiries, please contact 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.

New ACS Chief, Laurence K. Jones, Gets To Work

On September 6, Laurence K. Jones arrived in Hong Kong to assume his duties as head of American Citizen Services. Laurence recently finished a tour in Port au Prince, Haiti and looks forward to working with and serving the American community in Hong Kong and Macau.

Reminder on New USCIS Procedures for Filing I-130 Petitions for Alien Relatives

Effective Aug. 15, 2011, petitioners residing in countries without United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices must file the Petition for an Alien Relative (Form I-130), with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility. Hong Kong does not have USCIS offices, which means that American citizens filing the I-130 will have to send the application to Chicago for processing. Please allow ample time for processing. For specific instructions please see I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

Make Your Appointments Early!

School is back in session and ACS continues to be extremely busy! As you plan around school schedules and activities, 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 Passports for further details.

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. China also requires 6 months passport validity and 2-3 empty visa pages to issue a new China visa. 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.

Forms for passport renewal and additional visa pages

When applying for passport services at U.S. Consulate Hong Kong, you can help to ensure that the process goes smoothly by bringing your completed form to your appointment. (Please ignore the part of the form that instructs you to mail the form to the U.S. If you mail the form to the U.S., your application will be considerably delayed.)

Forms can be completed and printed out online at Application for U.S. Passport.

Forms are also available in PDF form at Passports web page.

Register to Vote and/or Request Ballot

Election season is fast approaching. Don't miss your chance to vote! The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) allows you to register and receive an absentee ballot overseas. The FVAP website provides detailed state voting information. Go to FVAP.gov and get started. It only takes a few minutes!

Typhoon Season

Please be advised that if a Black Rainstorm Warning or Typhoon Signal 8 or above is announced by the Hong Kong Observatory, the Consulate General will be closed. If the Black Rainstorm Warning is lowered to a Red, or the Typhoon Signal is lowered to Signal 3 before 1:00 p.m., the Consulate General will reopen on the same day within one hour of the lowering.

Individuals with American Citizens Services appointments may return to the Consulate General with their original appointment confirmation letters anytime between 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. within five working days after the Consulate re-opens or reschedule the appointment online.

Please monitor radio and television broadcasts, the Hong Kong Observatory website or the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau website to stay informed about the latest weather conditions.

In addition, the Department of State issued a travel alert on June 1 to alert U.S. citizens to the Hurricane Season in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1 and ends November 30. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season began May 15 and ends November 30. For the full text of the travel alert please see: Hurricane Season 2011

Consulate Hours and Holidays

General Office Hours for the Consulate General
Monday - Friday 8:30 - 12:30 and 1:30 - 5:30

Hours For American Citizens Services
Monday - Friday 8:30 - Noon and 1:30 to 4:00,
Except Wednesdays (8:30 to Noon only)

Upcoming Holidays on which the Consulate Will Be Closed

Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Chung Yeung Festival

Monday, October 10, 2011
Columbus Day

Travel Safety Notices and Updates

Worldwide Caution: On July 26, the Department of State updated the Worldwide Caution to alert U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad to the enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan. Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. To view the entire alert, please see: Worldwide Caution

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

Warnings

  • Philippines: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5490.html
  • Nepal: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_927.html
  • North Korea: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5137.html

Alerts

  • Bhutan: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_5569.html
  • India: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_5568.html
  • Nepal: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_5567.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 does not accept replies directly from this message. To contact the Consulate, please email acshk@state.gov.

Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau on Twitter or join us on Facebook.

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


Last modified: October 4, 2011