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Newsletters and Messages for U.S. Citizens

March 2012 American Citizens Services (ACS) Newsletter

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau

New Topics

Continuing Topics of Interest

Greetings from ACS Chief, Laurence K. Jones

There is a seasonal quality to American Citizens Services work. This month the seasons are taxes and elections. You'll find important information on both in this newsletter. The world is flattening out, and the World Wide Web now gives individuals direct access to information on both topics on the internet. If you need help with forms or accessing information the ACS unit is more than happy to give it, but a few minutes on the computer will take you to the same sources we use, all in the comfort of your home or favorite internet café. Links are provided below. Do remember that American Citizens have an obligation to file their tax returns no matter where in the world they find themselves, or what their sources of income might be. Voting is one of the most fundamental duties and privileges and American Citizen can exercise, but voting overseas will take a bit of planning and extra work. The links below are a good starting point.

Macau Day: Wednesday, March 21, 11:00am - 2:00pm

On Wednesday, March 21, our staff will travel to Macau to provide limited consular services for American citizens. Services to be offered during this visit include voter registration, notarials (US$50 for each signature of the consular officer), passport application (US$105, US$110, or US$135 depending on age and type), birth registration (US$100 for each child), and adding additional visa pages (US$82 per set of pages). Please note that we will only be able to accept credit cards as payment - there are no cash transactions. Customers may pay using MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners Club or Discover card. Customers must present their card at the time of payment and the person whose name is listed on the card must be present to sign the payment slip. All charges will be in U.S. dollars.

Except for notary services, we will only accept applications and fees in Macau. Passports, additional pages and report of birth abroad applications will be completed at the Consulate in Hong Kong and returned to you by post or you may make arrangements for pick up at the Consulate or in Macau at our next Macau day in the coming quarter. If you need immediate service for a passport renewal or same day service for added pages, please make an appointment online to see us at the Consulate in Hong Kong.

Services will be available from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Academy of Music (see map - PDF 392 KB), located at Rua de Santa Clara, No. 19, 2/F, adjacent to City Hall and near Catholic Social Services on a first-come-first-served basis. Individuals who are physically challenged and/or require special arrangements to access this location may call (852) 2841-2211 in advance to facilitate access.

To enable us to best assist you in Macau:

  • Please check our website for information on what specific identification, forms, fees and supporting documents are required for each service. Download the appropriate forms and bring them with you.
  • Please present your U.S. passport for all services.
  • Please bring the original and one photocopy of each piece of identification and/or supporting document (such as passports, birth certificates, marriage and divorce certificates, Macau ID cards, etc.)

If you need a service not listed above, please contact us in advance at (852) 2841-2211. We may be able to bring with us what you need for that service.

Tax News: New IRS Form for Overseas Taxpayers

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wishes to bring to the attention of U.S. citizens abroad a new information reporting form that taxpayers will use starting this tax filing season to report specified foreign financial assets for tax year 2011.

The Form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets) should be filed by taxpayers with
specific types and amounts of foreign financial assets or foreign accounts. It is important for taxpayers to determine whether they are subject to this new requirement because the law imposes significant penalties for failing to comply.

Form 8938, the instructions, regulations implementing this new foreign asset report, and other information to help taxpayers determine if they are required to file Form 8938 is available on the web at: Do I need to file Form 8938, "Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets"?

The Consulate website maintains a Help for Overseas Tax Payers webpage with extensive guidance and resources for those preparing their U.S. taxes from abroad. Please see Taxes in the United States.

You may also wish to visit the U.S. Internal Revenue Service webpage for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

Voting News: Register and Request Your Ballot for Upcoming Primaries

Voters from the below States should visit the FVAP.gov web portal to register and request their absentee ballot for the April, May, and June 2012 Presidential Preference Primary (P) and State Primary (S) elections listed below:

April Primaries (30-Day Notice):
NOTE for April Primaries: If you have not received your requested State ballot, submit the back-up Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot at FVAP.gov (see FWAB information below).

  • District of Columbia (P,S): April 3
  • Maryland (P,S): April 3
  • Wisconsin (P): April 3
  • Alabama (Primary Runoff): April 24
  • Connecticut (P): April 24
  • Delaware (P): April 24
  • New York (P): April 24
  • Pennsylvania (P,S): April 24
  • Rhode Island (P): April 24

May Primaries: (60-Day Notice)

  • Indiana (P,S): May 8
  • North Carolina (P,S): May 8
  • West Virginia (P,S): May 8
  • Idaho (P,S): May 15
  • Nebraska (P,S): May 15
  • Oregon (P,S): May 15
  • Arkansas (P,S): May 22
  • Kentucky (P,S): May 22
  • Texas (P,S): May 29 (This is a change; the election was originally scheduled for March 6, then April 3)

June Primaries: (90-Day Notice)

  • California(P, S): June 5
  • Iowa (S): June 5
  • Montana (P, S): June 5
  • New Jersey (P, S): June 5
  • New Mexico (P, S): June 5
  • South Dakota (P, S): June 5
  • Arkansas (Primary Runoff): June 12
  • Maine (S): June 12
  • Nevada (S): June 12

It may not be too late to participate in the March primaries. View the Primary Election Calendar at FVAP.gov for more information.

Go to FVAP.gov and get started! It only takes a few minutes!

All members of the U.S. Uniformed Services, their family members, and citizens residing outside the U.S. who are residents from these States should submit an FPCA for these elections by going to the FVAP.gov web portal or by following the instructions in the Voting Assistance Guide, also available at FVAP.gov.

Be sure you include an email address, phone number, and/or fax number on your absentee ballot application in case your local election official needs to contact you. Remember, many States allow you to submit your form electronically, and deliver your ballot electronically or provide online ballot access. Go to FVAP.gov or your State's election website to see how you can return your form.

To find out the status of your registration/absentee ballot request, contact your local election office at Find Out Where to Send Election Materials, or visit your State website.

Vote the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)

The FWAB is a backup ballot. If 30 days before the election (or longer based on your geographic location) you think you will not receive your State ballot in time to vote and return it (especially in March Primary States), vote the FWAB at FVAP.gov. The FWAB is also available in embassies and consulates and military installations around the world.

Additional information:

Check your State's election website for specific information on candidates, elections, contact information, and links to your local election offices. Find your State's website at FVAP's web portal.

If you'd like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process please go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program or call FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584). Email vote@fvap.gov and don't forget to "like" us on Facebook and follow @FVAP on Twitter for election updates throughout 2012.

If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Consulate Hong Kong's American Citizens Services at 2841-2211 or at acshk@state.gov.

Consulate Hours and Upcoming 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, April 4, 2012
    Ching Ming Festival
  • Friday, April 6, 2012
    Good Friday
  • Monday, April 9, 2012
    Easter Monday

The Consulate is located at 26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong. The American Citizens Services section is located on the First Floor: All of our non-emergency services are by appointment only. Please also be aware that food and cell phones are not permitted inside the building.

Travel Safety Notices and Updates

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_5639.html
  • North Korea: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5601.html

Alerts

  • South Pacific Cyclone Season: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_5623.html
  • Japan: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_5574.html

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.

Subscribing/Unsubscribing

If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe from this newsletter, please do so by going to Subscribe Newsletter web page. New subscribers will be sent our last few messages in a digest form to help them catch up. Back issues are on the web.

 


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. 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.


Last modified: March 12, 2012

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