Category Archives: ACS Messages

Message for U.S. Citizens: Reminder Regarding Appointment Procedures and Telephone Hours

Following is the latest ACS message.


U.S. Embassy – Panama
Consular Section

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The American Citizens Services (ACS) and Federal Benefits Units (FBU) would like to remind all customers that they operate on an appointment-only system for all services except emergency ACS cases and adult passport renewals.

American Citizen Services

To schedule an appointment, or to obtain more information, please see the Embassy’s ACS page, which can be found here.

For automated information, please call (507) 317-5030.

To speak to an ACS representative please call (507) 317-5000 within the following hours:

Monday-Thursday: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Friday: 10:30 am – 12:00 noon

Federal Benefits

To schedule an appointment, or to obtain more information, please send an email to Panama-FBU@state.gov. Please only send one e-mail regarding your issue. We aim to respond to your inquiries within 3 business days.

Please note that the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) of the U.S. Embassy in Panama cannot take or process claims for the Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), or Veterans Affairs (VA), and those entities do not have staff in the FBU. We rely on receiving responses from these various U.S. Federal government agencies (SSA, OPM, VA and others) to answer most benefits related inquiries.

For automated information, please call (507) 317-5030.

To speak to an FBU representative please call (507) 317-5000 within the following hours:

Monday-Thursday: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Friday: 10:30 am – 12:00 noon

*************************************************************************

Embajada de los Estados Unidos – Panama
Sección Consular

INFORMACIÓN IMPORTANTE

Los Servicios a Ciudadanos Americanos (ACS) y la Unidad de Beneficios Federales (FBU), desean recorder a todos sus clients que trabajan bajo un sistema de citas únicamente para todos los servicios, excepto para casos de emergencia de ciudadanos americanos y la renovación de pasaportes de adultos.

Servicios a Ciudadanos Americanos

Para programar una cita, o para obtener mayor información, favor ver la página de ACS de la Embajada, que puede encontrar aqui.

Para información automatizada, favor llamar al (507) 317-5030.

Para hablar con un representante de Servicios a Ciudadanos Americanos favor llamar al (507) 317-5000 dentro del siguiente horario:

Lunes-Jueves: 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Viernes: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Beneficios Federales

Para programar una cita, o para obtener mayor información, favor enviar un correo electrónico a Panama-FBU@state.gov. Favor enviar solamente un correo electrónico en relación a su caso. Nuestra meta es responder sus consultas dentro de los siguientes 3 días hábiles.

Favor tomar nota de que la Unidad de Beneficios Federales de la Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Panamá no puede aceptar o procesar reclamos de la Administración de Seguro Social (SSA), de la Oficina de Administración de Personal (OPM), o de Asuntos de Veteranos (VA), y de aquellas entidades que no tengan personal dentro de FBU. Dependemos de recibir las respuestas de estas entidades gubernamentales Federales de los Estados Unidos (SSA, OPM, VA y otras), para dar respuestas a la mayoría de sus consultados sobre beneficios.

Para información automatizada, favor llamar al (507) 317-5030.

Para hablar con un representante de FBU favor llamar al (507) 317-5000 dentro del siguiente horario:

Lunes-Jueves: 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Viernes: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Embassy Town Hall

Following is the latest ACS message.


Ambassador John D. Feeley
invites
U.S. Citizens in Panama Province
to a Town Hall Meeting

When: Wednesday, April 20th
Where: Wyndham Hotel at Albrook Mall
Time: 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm

Representatives from American Citizens Services, Regional Security Office, and Federal Benefitswill be available to answer questions during the meeting

Please register here NLT than April 17th. Space is limited to 100 guests so sign up early. The Conference Hall will open at 2pm for all participants.

IMPORTANT: After registering, you will receive a message confirming your participation. You must present this confirmation along with proof of citizenship to enter the conference hall.

Thank you for your cooperation.

No Video Cameras or Video Recording Permitted

Message for U.S. Citizens: Annual American Fair-April 9, 2016

Following is the latest ACS message.

Flag
The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Panama would like to inform U.S. citizens about the upcoming annual American Fair. The American Fair will bring the expat community, NGO, civic and volunteer groups together. Everyone is invited. Representatives from ACS and the Federal Benefits Unit will be on hand to answer questions.

When: Saturday, April 9, 2016
Time: 8:00am-12:00pm
Where: U.S. Embassy Grounds, Clayton

*Free Entrance*

*Bring Photo I.D.*

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Europe Travel Alert

Following is the latest ASC Message.

Security Message to U.S. Citizens-Europe Travel Alert

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to potential risks of travel to and throughout Europe following several terrorist attacks, including the March 22 attacks in Brussels claimed by ISIL. Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation. This Travel Alert expires on June 20, 2016.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events.

U.S. citizens should also:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
  •  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  •  Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

European governments continue to guard against terrorist attacks and conduct raids to disrupt plots. We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats.

For further information:

  • See the Department of State’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  •  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Outreach Trip to David, Chiriqui-March 29, 2016

Following is the latest ACS message.


The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Panama would like to inform U.S. citizens in Western Panama that we will be visiting David, Chiriqui on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 to provide consular services to U.S. citizens.

We will be at the Hotel Ciudad de David in David, Chiriqui from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. We will offer the following services:

  • Applications for U.S. passports (these services will be processed in Panama)
  • Passport Renewal (adults and minors)
  • Lost or Stolen Passports
  • Notarizations
  • Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status (please bring from I-407 and Permanent Resident Card)
  • Voting registration (please print and complete the form at: www.fvap.gov). For specific questions about voting in this year’s elections, please email pnmvoting@state.gov.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

1. Please bring legible photocopies of all documents to be submitted.

· If you are requesting the notarization of your driver’s license, please bring a photocopy of the front and back page of your license. If you are requesting notarization of benefits documents, please bring a copy of the document(s) showing the amount of benefits you receive monthly or annually.

· For adult passport renewals, please bring a copy of the photo page of your passport. For minor passport renewals, please bring a copy of the minor’s passport as well as each parent’s passport.

2. Please bring the exact cash amount to pay for the service.

3. Please bring completed forms. Please access the following link for information on fees, and forms you need to download, complete and bring: http://panama.usembassy.gov/service.html

A representative from the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) will be offering the following services:

  • Medicare enrollment/cancellation (copy of current passport or cedula will be required)
  • Application for SS replacement cards (copy of current US Passport)
  • Application for new SS card for children under age 12 (copy of US Passport for one of the parents, the child’s copia integra and passport)
  • Change of address/residence (copy of current passport or cedula will be required)
  • General inquiries
  • Provide proof of life forms

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Worldwide Caution

Following is the latest ACS message.


Security Message to U.S. Citizens-Worldwide Caution

The Department of State is updating the Worldwide Caution with information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. Current information suggests that ISIL, al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. Recent terrorist attacks, whether by those affiliated with terrorist entities, copycats, or individual perpetrators, serve as a reminder that U.S. citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated July 29, 2015.

In August 2014, after the United States and regional partners commenced military action against ISIL, ISIL called on supporters to attack foreigners wherever they are. Authorities believe there is a continued likelihood of reprisal attacks against U.S., Western, and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.

U.S. citizens continue to be at risk of kidnappings and hostage events as ISIL, al-Qa’ida, and their affiliates attempt to finance their operations through kidnapping-for-ransom operations. U.S. citizens have been kidnapped and murdered by members of terrorist and violent extremist groups. ISIL, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are particularly effective with kidnapping for ransom and are using ransom money to fund their activities.

Extremists may use conventional or non-conventional weapons and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays. In the past year, major extremist attacks occurred in countries including Tunisia, France, Nigeria, Belgium, Turkey, Egypt, and Mali.

U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services.

U.S. citizens considering maritime travel also should review information at the websites of the National Geospatial Agency, the Maritime Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard for information related to maritime and port security globally. Current areas of concern include the Caribbean, Gulf of Guinea, Horn of Africa, and the Straits of Malacca and Singapore ‎as a result of maritime crimes including smuggling, human trafficking, and piracy.
The information provided below offers select regional or country examples. Please check travel.state.gov for additional information.

EUROPE: Credible information indicates terrorist groups such as ISIL and al-Qa’ida and its affiliates continue to plot near-term attacks in Europe. All European countries remain vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
European authorities continue to warn of the possibility of attacks conducted by lone individuals inspired by extremist organizations that could occur with little to no warning. Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, aviation services, transportation systems, and public venues where people congregate. Authorities believe there is a high likelihood terror attacks in Europe will continue as European members of ISIL return from Syria and Iraq. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable.

MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. Private U.S. citizens are strongly discouraged from traveling to any country to join in armed conflict. U.S. citizens are reminded that fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIL, can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a serious crime that can result in penalties including prison time and large fines.
In Syria, the security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable as a civil war between government and armed anti-government groups continues throughout the country. Groups such as ISIL, al-Nusrah Front (ANF) and al-Qa’ida operate there. In recent years, Westerners have been kidnapped and several have been killed by terrorist groups in Syria.

U.S.-designated terrorist groups operating in Lebanon include Hizballah, ISIL, ANF, Hamas, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB). U.S. citizens have been the target of terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past, and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity remains.

In Iraq, ISIL controls significant territory in northern, western, and central Iraq, and continues to attack Iraqi security forces and civilians in those areas.

In Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria, groups affiliated with ISIL, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and other terrorist groups have conducted attacks against both foreign and local targets.

In Yemen, the security situation has deteriorated greatly since 2014, necessitating the suspension of operations of the U.S. Embassy in February 2015. Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIL remain threats to U.S. citizens in Yemen.

AFRICA: Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Murabitun remain active in northern Mali and Niger, and recently conducted major attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso in which U.S. citizens were killed. Terrorist groups have stepped up their rhetoric, calling for additional attacks or kidnapping attempts on Westerners and others, particularly those linked to support for international military intervention.
The terrorist group AQIM has declared its intention to attack Western targets in the Sahel (an area that stretches across the African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea to include Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea). It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region.

Al-Shabaab assassinations, suicide bombings, hostage taking, and indiscriminate attacks in civilian-populated areas are frequent in Somalia. Al-Shabaab retains its demonstrated capability to carry out attacks in government-controlled territory in Somalia and in neighboring countries such as Kenya and Djibouti.

Boko Haram, an extremist group based in northeast Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks, mainly in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram also has targeted women and children for kidnapping, reportedly kidnapping women in northern states for marriage as “slave brides.” Boko Haram has carried out attacks in Cameroon’s Far North Region, western Chad, and southern Niger, targeting foreign expatriates, tourists, and government leaders.

SOUTH ASIA: The U.S. government assesses terrorist groups in South Asia may be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. facilities, citizens, and interests. The presence of al-Qa’ida, Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terrorist organizations, many of which are on the U.S. government’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region.
Although the Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities, terrorist attacks have occurred against civilian, government, and foreign targets. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military installations and airports. Terrorists and criminal groups also have resorted to kidnapping for ransom.

No province in Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence and crime, and the strong possibility exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other foreign nationals at any time. Taliban and other extremist organizations remain active in every province of the country and frequently target both Afghan government and foreign interests.

India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly. Anti-Western terrorist groups active in India include Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba. Past attacks have targeted public places, including some frequented by Westerners, such as luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas.

Since September 2015, Bangladesh has experienced a series of increasingly sophisticated violent attacks. These include the murders of two foreign nationals, as well as bombs and other attacks against gatherings of religious groups and security forces. ISIL publicly claimed credit for many of these attacks. Additionally, groups claiming to represent al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) asserted responsibility for a series of threats and terrorist attacks targeting writers, publishers, and others in the media, including the murder of a U.S. citizen blogger.

CENTRAL ASIA: Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qa’ida, and the Islamic Jihad Union remain active in Central Asia. These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. government interests.

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC: Information from credible sources suggests that there is a continued risk of armed terrorist and criminal groups operating and planning attacks against foreigners, including U.S. citizens, in the East Asian and Pacific region. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group, have cells operating throughout Southeast Asia and JI is linked to al-Qa’ida and other regional terrorist groups.
There is a risk of travel to the southern Philippines, specifically related to kidnapping threats in the Sulu Archipelago and the ongoing threat of violence on the island of Mindanao, particularly in Central Mindanao. Foreigners in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia are also targets for kidnappings for ransom. Criminal or terrorist bands may attempt to intercept boats ferrying tourists in the area as well.

Indonesian counterterrorism efforts have prevented terrorists from conducting large-scale attacks in recent years. The January 14, 2016, attack in central Jakarta, however, shows that extremists in Indonesia still have the ability to carry out small-scale violent attacks.

U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

For further information:

Message for U.S. Citizens: Important Information for Social Security Beneficiaries

Following is the latest ACS message.

U.S. Embassy Panama
Consular Section
Federal Benefits Unit

The Social Security Administration recently informed us that there are still approximately 400 Social Security recipients residing in Panama who have not returned their Report to the U.S. Social Security Administration form, which serves as their “Proof of Life”. Please note that the Social Security Administration suspended those benefits for the payment dated March 3, 2016.

In May/June of each year these forms are sent to the mailing address recipients have on record with the SSA. A second request is mailed in October.

If you meet any of the conditions below, you were required to comply with this requirement in 2015:

vBeneficiary with a representative payee or
vBeneficiary aged 90 and over or
vThe terminal digits of your SSN ends in 50 – 99

If you have not yet returned your proof of life form to the Federal Benefits Unit, or if you wish to obtain a blank form, please send an e-mail to Panama-FBU@state.gov. We will forward the form and instructions to you to have your benefits reinstated.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Zika Virus Update

Following is the latest ACS message.


The U.S. Embassy in Panama informs U.S. citizens that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel notice for Panama regarding the Zika virus. There is evidence that suggests Zika is linked to birth defects in the fetuses of infected pregnant women and Guillain-Barré syndrome in infected individuals of any age or gender. Zika is typically a mosquito-borne illness, but there are reports that the virus has been transmitted through sexual contact and blood transfusion. For general information about Zika, please visit the CDC website. For information about CDC travel notices, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas or visit the CDC website.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Consular Section Closure-February 23, 2016

Following is the latest ACS message

THE U.S. CONSULAR SECTION (AMERICAN CITIZEN SERVICES, FEDERAL BENEFITS, AND VISAS UNITS) WILL BE CLOSED ON
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2016 DUE TO STAFF TRAINING

The entire Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Panama will be closed to the public on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. No routine services will be available in the Visas, American Citizen Services, or Federal Benefits Units. If you are an American Citizen and have an emergency, please contact the Embassy at 317-5000 and they will put you in contact with the appropriate officer.

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, the Consular Section will resume full operations with its regular schedule (please see http://panama.usembassy.gov).