Tag Archives: ACS

Message for U.S. Citizens: 2017 Overseas Voting

Following is the latest ACS message.

Just voted in November? Still traveling or living overseas? You should register and request your absentee ballot to vote again in 2017 to ensure your election office knows where to send your ballot for any upcoming special elections for federal office. Some states are also holding gubernatorial or other statewide elections this year.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recommends all overseas U.S. citizens send in a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) early every year.  The FPCA is the registration and ballot request form accepted by all states and territories.

You can use the FPCA online assistant, complete the fillable PDF version, or pick up a hardcopy version from your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Be sure your contact information is accurate in case your election office needs to reach you.

If you’d like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process please go to FVAP.gov or call FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email vote@fvap.gov.

Toll-free phone numbers from 67 countries are listed at FVAP.gov. Find FVAP on Facebook at facebook.com/DoDFVAP and follow @FVAP on Twitter.

Clarification on length of time US Citizens may be in Panama as tourists

Following is the US Embassy’s clarification on the length of time US Citizens may be in Panama.

Based on multiple inquiries from U.S. citizens in Panama regarding Decree No.590 dated December 28, 2016, the Consular Section contacted the Panamanian Servicio Nacional de Migracion (SNM or Panamanian Immigration Office) for further clarification on the length of time U.S. Citizens are able to stay in Panama as tourists.  The SNM confirmed that U.S. citizens (as well as citizens of the UK, Canada, and Australia) are still allowed to enter Panama without a Panamanian visa and they can stay for up to 180 days as tourists. 

 

For more information regarding this matter, please visit the SNM’s Twitter account, which is available at the following link: https://twitter.com/migracionpanama?lang=en

Message for U.S. Citizens: January 18th Outreach in Boquete

Following is the latest ACS Message.

U.S. Embassy Panama

Consular Section

American Citizens Services Unit

 The American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Panama would like to inform U.S. citizens that we will be visiting Boquete, Chiriqui on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 to provide passport, notarial, and federal benefits services to U.S. Citizens.

WHERE ,WHEN, AND RSVP:

Boquete: Wednesday, January 18, 10am-2pm at the Hotel Valle del Rio, Palmira Salon (Camino Valle Escondido, Bajo Boquete.) Please register below according to the service that you require:

For Federal Benefits, register here

For Passport Services, register here

For Notarial Services, register here

HOW TO PAY FOR PASSPORT AND NOTARIAL SERVICES (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY):

The Embassy will only accept payment by local banker’s cashier check (known in Spanish as “Cheque Certificado”) made payable to “U.S. Embassy Panama”, issued within the past five months.  The Embassy will NOT accept cash or credit card payments.  The notarial fee is $50 per each signature of the Consular Officer.  A list of passport fees can be found here.  Other than passport and notarial services, all other services are no-fee.

WHAT TO BRING FOR PASSPORT, NOTARIAL, AND LPR ABANDONMENT SERVICES:

Passports: For adult passport renewals (remember that you can complete passport renewals by mail!), in addition to the completed DS-82 application, provide one recent color photo with a white background that measures 5×5 cm (2X2 inches),  your passport, and a photocopy of the photo page of your passport.  The fee for an adult passport renewal is currently $110.  If your previous passport was lost or stolen you will also need to bring a copy of the police report and the fee for the new passport is $135.  For minor passport renewals, in addition to the completed DS-11 application, bring a copy of the photo page of the minor’s passport, a copy of both parents’ passports /cedulas, one recent color photo with a white background that measures 5×5 cm (2X2 inches) and a copy of the minor’s birth certificate, in addition to the original birth certificate and passport/ cedulas.  The fee is currently $105.00 for a minor (under 16) passport renewal.    The minor and both parents or guardians must appear in person.  If only one parent is present in Panama, the “Statement of Consent from Absent Parent” Form DS-3053, notarized in the U.S., is required.  Please note that the DS-3053 will not be accepted if notarized in Panama.

Notarizations: Here is the link with details. If you are requesting the notarization of your driver’s license, bring a photocopy of the front and back page of your license, as well as your license.  If you are requesting notarization of benefits documents, bring the original and a copy of the document(s) showing the amount of benefits you receive monthly or annually.  The notarial fee is $50.00 for each signature of the Consular Officer.

LPR Abandonment: Bring completed form I-407 and a photocopy of your Permanent Resident Card, as well as your Permanent Resident Card.

WHAT TO BRING FOR FEDERAL BENEFITS SERVICES (please bring legible copies of all documents to be submitted):

SSA Proof of Life: If you are required to comply with this requirement this year (i.e. your SSN ends in 00 thru 49; you receive benefits for someone else; you are age 90 or over), please bring your cedula or passport.

Medicare Enrollment/Cancellation: To enroll in Medicare, you should complete and sign this form and to cancel your enrollment please complete and sign this form.

Social Security Replacement Card: Bring a copy of your valid U.S. passport and completed form SS-5FS.

Social Security Card for child under 12: Bring a copy of the U.S. passport for one of the parents, the child’s “copia integra” birth certificate, and the child’s U.S. passport (as well as copies) as well as completed form SS-5FS.

Change of Address for Social Security: Bring your current passport or cedula.

International Direct Deposit Enrollment:  If you wish to enroll, please send an e-mail to Panama-FBU@state.gov to request the form.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

American Citizens Services

U.S. Embassy Panama

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Panama 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.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Panama, located at Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue Clayton, Panama, at +507-317-5030, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +507-317-5000.
  • 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).

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Martyrs’ Day January 9th

Following is the latest ACS Message.

U.S. Embassy in Panama

Security Message for U.S. Citizens

January 5, 2017

Martyrs’ Day is a Panamanian holiday which commemorates the January 9, 1964 riots over sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone.  Historically, protests and marches occur on this anniversary.

Post received reports of possible marches and demonstrations planned throughout Panama City on January 9.   One such demonstration is planned for 0900 on January 9, beginning at the 5 de Mayo Metro Station.

U.S. Citizens should plan their travel accordingly and avoid all confrontations.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.  Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

For further information about security in Panama:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Panama 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.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Panama, located at Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue Clayton, Panama, at +507-317-5030, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +507-317-5000.
  • 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).

Message for U.S. Citizens: Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) at the U.S. Embassy in Panama

Following is the latest ACS message.

U.S. Embassy in Panama

Message for U.S. Citizens: Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT)

December 20, 2016

Have you ever wanted to become a diplomat for the U.S. government?  Here is your opportunity!  The U.S. Embassy in Panama will be hosting the computer-based Foreign Service Officer exam on February 2, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.  There is no fee to take the test.  The requirements are as follows:

 

  • Applicants must be citizens of the United States.
  • Applicants must be at least 20 years old.
  • Applicants must be available for worldwide assignment.
  • No specific level in a foreign language is required for applicants.

 

For detailed information on pursuing a career in the Foreign Service, to learn about what career track might be right for you, and to explore in detail the steps of the Foreign Service hiring process, please go to http://www.careers.state.gov.

 

In order to register for the FSOT in Panama, please visit http://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/test-process.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email on the first business day following submission of your registration from the test administrator (Pearson VUE) that you are eligible to schedule your test seat.  Please do not delay in registering and scheduling your test seat as space is limited so availability is on a first-come first-served basis.  If the test seats are all filled, you will have to take the exam next time it is offered.  The test is currently offered quarterly each year, both within the U.S. and at certain locations overseas.

 

If you have specific questions about the Foreign Service Officer Test, you may send an e-mail to FSOTQuestions@state.gov.

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Anniversary of Operation Just Cause Demonstrations

Following is the latest ACS Message

U.S. Embassy in Panama

Security Message for U.S. Citizens

December 19, 2016

The U.S. Embassy in Panama informs U.S. citizens that it has received a report of planned demonstrations on December 20, 2016 in Panama City related to the anniversary of Operation Just Cause.  One demonstration is scheduled to begin at the U.S. Embassy in the morning.  The American Citizen Services, Federal Benefits, and Visa Units will be closed to the public on December 20.  All U.S. citizens are reminded to remain diligent in your personal security.

 

U.S. Citizens should plan their travel accordingly and avoid all confrontations.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.  Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

 

For further information about security in Panama:

 

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Panama Country Specific Information.

 

 

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Panama, located at Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue Clayton, Panama, at +507-317-5030, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +507-317-5000.

 

  • 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).

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Hurricane Otto

Following is the latest ACS message.


Emergency Message: Hurricane Otto
Panama
22 November 2016

 

U.S. Embassy Panama City alerts U.S. citizens in Panama that the National Hurricane Center has upgraded tropical storm Otto to a hurricane.  Heavy rainfall is expected in portions of central and western Panama, accumulating between 4 to 8 inches over the next few days. These rains could result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.  Swells generated by Otto are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions over the next several days along the Panamanian coast.  The Panamanian National System of Civil Protection (SINAPROC) has planted red flags on beaches in the Caribbean to warn the public of strong currents and waves.  Panama has declared a red alert for its Caribbean coast and a yellow alert for the entire country.  On November 21, SINAPROC evacuated members of the Guanabano community in Chiriqui and transferred them to a shelter in El Majagual.  All operations at Marco A. Gelabert and Panama Pacifico airports have been cancelled for November 22.  The Ministry of Education (MEDUCA) has cancelled classes for all public and private schools for November 22 and November 23.  Please visit the National Hurricane Center’s website for updates and to follow the storm’s path.  You can also find Panama-specific information on the SINAPROC Twitter.

 

U.S. citizens may be affected by the storm and are advised to monitor local media for updates or possible changes to the severe weather conditions and to follow any instructions/warnings issued by the Panamanian government.  Preparations to protect life and property in any storm or weather-related event should be considered.  U.S. citizens should carry their travel documents (i.e. U.S. passport book) with them at all times or secure them by placing them in a secure, waterproof location.  If you must travel during this time, please take reasonable precautions such as avoiding swiftly moving water.  Drivers should remain vigilant for possible landslides.

 

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Panama enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) on the State Department’s website.  STEP enrollment subsribes you to receive emails with the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy.

 

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, (including the Travel Warning for Panama), Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for the Panama. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website.

 

Contact the U.S. embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips. For all emergencies involving U.S. citizens, contact the American Citizen Services (ACS) unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located at Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue, Clayton, Panama.  To speak to an ACS representative please call 011-507-317-5000 (317-5000 in Panama) on the following schedule: Monday-Thursday: 3:00 PM- 4:30 PM.  Fax: 011-507-317-5303 (317-5303 in Panama)

 

In the event of an after-hours emergency involving an American citizen, you can reach a Duty Officer (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) by calling 011-507-317-5000 (317-5000 in Panama).

 

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Tropical Storm Otto

Following is the latest ACS Message.


Emergency Message: Tropical Storm Otto
Panama
21 November 2016

 

U.S. Embassy Panama City alerts U.S. citizens in the Panama that a tropical storm watch associated with Tropical Storm Otto is in effect for Panama. Heavy rainfall is expected in parts of Panama over the next few days.  The combination of a dangerous storm surge along the coast with large waves could raise water levels.  Gusty winds, heavy rains, and possible flash floods and mudslides are expected to occur.  The Panamanian National System of Civil Protection (SINAPROC) has planted red flags on beaches in the Caribbean to warn the public of strong currents and waves.  On November 21, SINAPROC evacuated members of the Guanabano community in Chiriqui and transferred them to a shelter in El Majagual.  Please visit the National Weather Service’s website for updates and to follow the storm’s path.  You can also find Panama-specific information on the SINAPROC twitter page at https://twitter.com/sinaproc_panama.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Important Information for Federal Benefits Recipients

Here is the latest ACS Message.

U.S. Embassy Panama

Consular Section

Federal Benefits Unit

Important Information for Federal Benefits Recipients

 

2017 Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)

We are pleased to announce that there will be a 0.3 percent benefit increase in 2017 for Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) benefit recipients, effective December 1, 2016.  The increase will be reflected on payments made in January 2017.

SSA information:

  •             Medicare changes for 2017, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov.
  •             If you are over age 65 and are not enrolled in Medicare Part B and wish to do so, the general enrollment period is from January 1st through March 31st.  The coverage will begin on July 1st.    You will need to complete the enrollment form, which you can download at:https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/Downloads/CMS40B-E.pdf.

OPM Information:

  •             OPM has announced that the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Open Season will begin on November 14th and runs through December 12th , 2016.    During Open Season, anyone eligible to participate in the FEHB Program may enroll, change health plans or options, or cancel their FEHB enrollment.  For instructions for making open season changes, please visit the following link https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/enrollment/
  •              For the 2017 health benefits open season information and premiums, please visit the following link: www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/premiums/2017/nonpostal-ffs.pdf.   The effective date of the open season changes and new premiums will be January 1st , 2017.  The changes will be reflected in the payment dated February 1st, 2017.

Please note that an appointment will be required for all services at the Federal Benefits Unit.  You can schedule an appointment by sending an e-mail to Panama-FBU@State.Gov.

Reminder on Voting: NO Embassy deadline on accepting ballots

I received the following message that was sent to all Wardens for the US Embassy in Panama City. I see nothing in it that should prevent it from being distributed.

Good Afternoon Wardens,

I hope you are doing well and are excited about election season. As we get closer to election day, we have been getting complaints from some U.S. Citizens stating that they are hearing that the Embassy is not accepting ballots after today, October 26th. If you get questions about this, please let people know that the Embassy will accept all ballots delivered to the Embassy after October 26, 2016. All ballots will be sent to the U.S. via the diplomatic pouch with transit time between Panama and the U.S. taking up to 7 days. People should take into consideration this transit time along with the deadlines set by their home state for receiving ballots from abroad. U.S. citizens can drop off an FPCA or completed ballot in person at the U.S. Embassy in Panama between 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday and between 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on Friday.