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  1. The U.S. Embassy in Panama is pleased to announce its new passport renewal by mail for the convenience of U.S. citizens residing in Panama. Beginning May 2, 2016, eligible adult U.S. citizens will be able to renew their passport without appearing in person at the Embassy. To qualify for the program, you may renew your passport by mail if your most recent U.S. passport: · Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application; · Was issued within the last 15 years; · Was issued with 10 year validity; · Was issued in your current name or, if you have changed your name, you can submit legal documentation such as a marriage certificate to prove this change; and · You are resident in Panama. Detailed information on the procedures for renewing your passport by mail, including payment and mailing instructions, can be found here. If you do not qualify for passport renewal by mail, or if you prefer to renew your passport in person at the U.S. Embassy, please follow the instructions here. 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) at https://step.state.gov/step. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. You can also download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and the Android market, to have travel information at your fingertips. Regularly monitor the State Department's website at http://travel.state.gov, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.
  2. 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).
  3. Security Message for U.S. Citizens in Panama: Protest Notification September 1, 2016 The U.S. Embassy in Panama alerts U.S. citizens that large protests, organized by anti- and pro-government members, are expected to take place in Caracas, Venezuela and in cities throughout the region, including Panama City. Marches and demonstrations are expected to take place on the Cinta Costera in Panama City on Saturday, September 3. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place and exercise caution when in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. 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. To unsubscribe from future messages please go to the following link: https://step.state.gov/STEP/Pages/common/Subscribe.aspx --
  4. U.S. Department of State Invites you to take action… Your career starts by visiting our website at www.careers.state.gov where you can explore who we are, what we’re about, and more. It’s also where you can register for the next Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT). All registrations for the Foreign Service Officer Test must be completed online. Registration for the test is available on the following website http://www.pearsonvue.com/fsot/ and the registration package must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to the opening of the window. The test will be offered quarterly, each year, and registration for the FSOT will be open on a continuous basis. 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. Next test at US Embassy Panama will be on October 4th, 2016 at 9:00 am. --
  5. U.S. Embassy Panama City Invites U.S. Citizens in Panama to an Absentee Voting Outreach Event for the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election What: Representatives from American Citizen Services will be available to answer questions about absentee voting during the event. When: Wednesday, August 31st from 2-3pm (doors open at 1:30 pm) Where: U.S. Embassy Panama City, Consular Section Lobby How: Please register here NLT Tuesday, August 30th. Space is limited to 120 guests. IMPORTANT: After registering, you will receive a message confirming your participation. You must present this confirmation along with proof of citizenship to enter the Consular lobby. And remember, no telephones, video cameras, or video recording permitted. We look forward to seeing many of you on Wednesday! Looking for other options? Representatives from American Citizen Services will also be addressing additional U.S. Citizen civic groups in Panama including: The Veterans of Foreign Wars at CELI: Friday, September 9th at 3pm, The American Society at Inedito Rooftop Lounge: Monday, September 5th from 6:30pm to 8pm Please contact these organizations directly if you are interested in attending. Representatives from American Citizen Services will also visit David, Chiriqui in late September. Details will be sent out soon. --
  6. U.S. Embassy Panama City Invites U.S. Citizens in Panama to an Absentee Voting Outreach Event for the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election What: Representatives from American Citizen Services will be available to answer questions about the absentee voting process. When: Wednesday, August 31st from 2-3pm (doors open at 1:30 pm). Where: U.S. Embassy Panama City, Consular Section Lobby. How: Please register here by Monday, August 29th. Space is limited to 120 guests. IMPORTANT: After registering, you will receive a message confirming your participation. You must present this confirmation along with proof of U.S. citizenship to enter the Consular Section lobby. And remember, no telephones, video cameras, or video recording permitted. We look forward to seeing many of you on Wednesday! Looking for other options? Representatives from American Citizen Services will also be addressing additional U.S. Citizen civic groups in Panama including: · The Veterans of Foreign Wars at CELI: Friday, September 5th at 3pm. · The Elks Lodge: Saturday, August 27th at 4:30pm. · The American Society: Date TBD. Please contact these organizations directly if you are interested in attending. --
  7. The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Panama has recently received a number of questions from U.S. Citizens regarding the new Social Security Administration my Social Security online tool. In order to use this new tool, U.S. Citizens must meet the following requirements: You must be able to verify some information about yourself and: · have a 10-digit cell phone number that can receive text messages, · have a valid E-mail address, · have a Social Security Number, · have a U.S. mailing address, and · be at least 18 years of age. Based on the messages we have received, many U.S. Citizens in Panama have attempted to register for this new tool but, when they attempt to enter an 11-digit Panamanian cellphone number, the website does not accept it. Unfortunately, at this time, the my Social Security tool can only be used by individuals who are able to provide a 10-digit number. The Social Security Administration is working on improving the tool and making it accessible to a larger group of people but, at this time, only individuals who can provide a 10-digit cellphone number can use the service. The Social Security Administration encourages customers who will not be able to access their personal my Social Security account to visit their website at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/contactto learn about other ways to contact them to access their benefits information. --
  8. 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, Chiriquí on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 to provide consular services to U.S. citizens. We will be at the Hotel Ciudad de David in David, Chiriquí from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. We will offer the following services: Passports and Notarial Services - Passport Renewal (adults and minors). Please note that most adult passport renewals can by processed by mail/DHL and do not require personal appearance at the Embassy or outreach event. See this page for more information on passport renewals by mail. - Lost or Stolen Passports - Notarizations - Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status (please bring from I-407 and Permanent Resident Card) - Voting information and acceptance of voter registration forms. Information and registration forms for overseas voters can be found here. 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, as well as your license. If you are requesting notarization of benefits documents, please bring the original and a copy of the document(s) showing the amount of benefits you receive monthly or annually. · For adult passport renewals, please bring your passport and a copy of the photo page of your passport. For minor passport renewals, please bring a copy of the photo page of the minor’s passport, a copy of both parent’s passports or cedulas, and a copy of the minor’s birth certificate, in addition to the original birth certificate and passports or cedulas. 2. The Embassy will only accept payment by local banker’s cashier check (also known in Spanish as “Cheque Certificado”) in U.S. dollars only made payable to the “US Embassy Panama” (Banker’s Drafts must have been issued within the last five months). The Embassy will not accept cash payments for any services. The notarial fee is $50.00 for each signature of the Consular Officer. A list of passport fees can be found here. 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 Federal Benefits 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 A representative from our Regional Security Office will be on hand to answer security questions. IMPORTANT NOTICE · To apply for a new or replacement Social Security card, please bring the completed form. You may download and print the form for the Social Security card at the following link: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5fs.pdf Please note: No visa services will be provided. Services will be provided on first come - first serve basis. Thank you for your assistance. We look forward to seeing you. Sincerely, American Citizen Services U.S. Embassy Panama panama-acs@state.gov --
  9. July 4th Voting Message Celebrate democracy this 4th of July by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2016 U.S. elections! In order to vote in the November 2016 elections, all overseas U.S. citizens need to have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2016. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete an FPCA each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter. You can always get voting assistance from the embassy/consulate or drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, during the following hours: The American Citizen Service (ACS) unit at Embassy Panama will accept ballots during regular business hours Monday thru Thursday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM and Fridays from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Citizens do not need an appointment to drop off their ballots. Embassy Panama will also accept ballots to be mailed to our offices at the address listed below: Embajada de los Estados Unidos ATTN: Voting Officer Edificio 783, Ave. Demetrio B. Lakas Clayton, Panama City, Rep. de Panama Please note that mail service delivery time within Panama varies and that mail sent from the Embassy typically takes approximately two weeks to arrive at a U.S. destination. Please plan accordingly in order for your ballot to be received at its final destination by any state mandated deadline. Lastly, the American Citizen Services Unit is closed for all U.S. and Panamanian holidays. If it’s more convenient, you can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense. If you have never voted while overseas before, the process is easy ­-- just follow these steps: 1. Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2016 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2016 elections. The completion of the FPCAallows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories. You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. We encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options. 2. Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. 3. Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address them to the relevant local election officials. Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain on-line. You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP's Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebookand Twitter. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Panama’s Voting Assistance Officer at (+507)317-5000, or at VotePANAMA@state.gov. Remember, your vote counts! --
  10. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will host a webinar “Foreign Earned Income for U.S. Overseas Taxpayers” on June 29, 2016, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT. To register and attend this webinar, use the Foreign Earned Income for U.S. Overseas Taxpayers or https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/445/15416 webinar link. Attendees should log in 10 minutes prior to the start time. The session will be recorded and made available at a later time on IRSvideos.gov. The webinar will cover: vRequirements for claiming the foreign income exclusion vIdentifying which form to use: Form 2555 or 2555-EZ vSpecifying information to include on Form 2555 or 2555-EZ vLive Q&A with IRS subject matter experts. --
  11. U.S. Embassy Panama Consular Section Federal Benefits Unit As part of the Foreign Enforcement Program, the Social Security Administration (SSA)has started sending out their Report to the U.S. Social Security Administration form, which serves as their “Proof of Life” to the mailing addresses on record with SSA. If you meet any of the conditions below, you are required to comply with this requirement this year: Beneficiary with a representative payee or Beneficiary aged 90 and over or The terminal digits of your SSN ends in 00 – 49 If you have not yet received your form, we recommend that you continue checking at the Post Office. As soon as you receive the form, please answer the questions applicable to you and sign it. Before mailing the form to the SSA, please make a copy for your records and mail the form with your original signature to the following address: Social Security Administration Wilkes Barre Data Operations Center 1150 E. Mountain Dr. Room 341 Attention: FEQ Analyst, FEQ Forms 7161-7162 Wilkes Barre, PA 18702-7997 Please note that at this time you can only submit the original form with the bar code sent by the SSA. It is not possible for you to request a blank form at the Federal Benefits Unit to comply with this process.
  12. The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Panama would like to inform U.S. citizens that, pursuant to the Kingpin Act, on May 05, 2016, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated eight individuals and 69 entities for their involvement in international narcotics trafficking-related activities. As a result of the OFAC action, U.S. persons, including all U.S. citizens, nationals and permanent resident aliens, regardless of where they are located, are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with these persons and entities. For further information, please see the Department of Treasury’s press release here. The names and identifying information of the eight foreign individuals and 69 entities can be found here. 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) at https://step.state.gov/step. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. You can also download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and the Android market, to have travel information at your fingertips. Regularly monitor the State Department's website at http://travel.state.gov, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. --
  13. 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.
  14. 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 Benefits will 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
  15. 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.* --
  16. To U.S. Citizens living in Boquete and surrounding communities: As you know, our Boquete Warden for the U.S. Embassy, Price Peterson, has decided to step aside after many years of providing wonderful support to us all. Recently I interviewed for the position and was chosen to be the new U.S. Warden for Boquete. I look forward to being a liaison between you and the U.S. Embassy in your time of need. For those of you who do not know me, I would like to tell you a little about myself. I am bilingual; I was born in Colombia and lived throughout South and Central America before I moved to the U.S. at age 16. Shortly after graduating high school I served in the Army in Viet Nam. Once home from Viet Nam I entered college and haven't stopped taking courses. I will finish a law degree at ISAE University in David on May 1, 2016. My work background covers a wide gamut: law enforcement, private investigations, water and waste water management and engineering, instruction at a law enforcement academy, and property management. The Citizens Services Chief at the U.S. Embassy suggested adding the position of an Alternate Warden so there is always at least one person here to assist you. I am very pleased to announce that, at my request, Bonnie Williams has accepted this position. Many of you are familiar with Bonnie from Bid4Boquete. She has given of herself to this community for years. Prior to relocating to Boquete in early 2007 from Tallahassee, Florida, Bonnie served as the Executive Director of the Florida Commission on Ethics, where she first was employed in 1974. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and graduate degrees from Florida State University. Bonnie and I look forward to serving you. We have many thoughts and ideas on keeping you informed and supporting your needs. Once we have been oriented into this position, we plan to communicate with you on a regular basis. Please feel free to contact us. I have established an email account specifically for this position. Hank Landis, Boquete Warden for U.S. Citizens landis.boquete.warden@comcast.net
  17. 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. --
  18. 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: · 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. · The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides several resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector abroad. Additional information on OSAC can be found on OSAC.gov or by following OSAC on Twitter. · Mariners should also 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.
  19. 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: v Beneficiary with a representative payee or v Beneficiary aged 90 and over or v The 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.
  20. Subject: Message for U.S. Citizens: Voting in 2016 U.S. Elections Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2016 21:18:41 +0000 From: DiazR@state.gov Reply-To: DiazR@state.gov VOTING IN 2016 U.S. ELECTIONS Your vote counts! Did you know that many U.S. elections for house and senate have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters? All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline. Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the 2016 U.S. elections: 1. Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2016 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2016 elections. The completion of the FPCAallows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories. You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. We encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options. 2. Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. 3. Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address them to the relevant local election officials. The American Citizen Service (ACS) unit at Embassy Panama will accept ballots during regular business hours Monday thru Thursday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM and Fridays from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Citizens do not need an appointment to drop off their ballots. Embassy Panama will also accept ballots to be mailed to our offices at the address listed below: Embajada de los Estados Unidos ATTN: Voting Officer Edificio 783, Ave. Demetrio B. Lakas Clayton, Panama City, Rep. of Panama Please note that mail service delivery time within Panama varies and that mail sent from the Embassy typically takes approximately two weeks to arrive at a U.S. destination. Please plan accordingly in order for your ballot to be received at its final destination by any state mandated deadline. Lastly, the ACS unit is closed for all U.S. and Panamanian holidays. If it’s more convenient for you, you can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense. Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain on-line. You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP's Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebookand Twitter. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Embassy Panama Voting Assistance Officer at 317-5000, or at PNMVoting@state.gov. Remember, your vote counts!
  21. Subject: Message for U.S. Citizens: H1N1 Flu Virus Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2016 18:20:27 +0000 From: panama-acs@state.gov Reply-To: panama-acs@state.gov The American Citizen Services Unit would like to alert U.S. citizens residing and/or traveling in the Chiriqui Province about an outbreak of the influenza virus in the region. The Panamanian Ministry of Health (MINSA) has reported 22 confirmed cases of influenza, including two confirmed cases ofthe H1N1 flu virus in Chiriqui. Please click here to see the announcement and guidance from the Panamanian Ministry of Health. For further information about the H1N1 virus, including steps you can take to stay healthy, please consult the United States Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.
  22. The U.S. Embassy in Panama City, Panama reminds U.S. citizens that voting season is approaching. Below you will find each state’s presidential primary election dates. State Presidential Primary Alabama March 1 Alaska March 1 American Samoa March 1 Arizona March 22 Arkansas March 1 California June 7 Colorado March 1 Connecticut April 26 Delaware April 26 District of Columbia June 14 Florida March 15 Georgia March 1 Guam March 9 (R) May 7 (D) Hawaii March 8 (R) March 26 (D) Idaho March 8 Illinois March 15 Indiana May 3 Iowa February 1 Kansas March 5 Kentucky May 17 Louisiana March 5 Maine March 5 (R) March 6 (D) Maryland April 26 Massachusetts March 1 Michigan March 8 Minnesota March 1 Mississippi March 8 Missouri March 15 Montana June 7 Nebraska May 10 Nevada February 20 (D) February 23 (R) New Hampshire February 9 New Jersey June 7 New Mexico June 7 New York April 19 North Carolina March 15 North Dakota March 1 (R) June 7 (D) Ohio March 15 Oklahoma March 1 Oregon May 17 Pennsylvania April 26 Puerto Rico March 6 Rhode Island April 26 South Carolina February 20 (R) February 27 (D) South Dakota June 7 Tennessee March 1 Texas March 1 Utah March 22 Vermont March 1 Virgin Islands March 19 (R) June 4 (D) Virginia March 1 Washington March 26 (D) May 24 (R) West Virginia May 10 Wisconsin April 5 Wyoming March 1 (R) April 9 (D) If you currently reside outside of the U.S. or will be outside of your voting jurisdiction for any election, you will need to fill out an absentee ballot form and return it before your state’s deadline. To find out your state’s deadlines for registration, absentee ballot request, and ballot return, refer to https://www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/States/eVAG.pdf. For more information, visit https://www.fvap.gov/.
  23. Message for U.S. Citizens– Zika Virus The U.S. Embassy in Panama alerts U.S. citizens that there is a new CDC Advisory regarding the Zika Virus. For the full text, please visit the CDC website. To obtain Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel notices, call the CDC at 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. For up-to-date information on security, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. Further information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 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). U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Panama are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in case of an emergency.
  24. U.S. Embassy, Panama Consular Section Federal Benefits Unit In the payment dated January 4, 2016, some overseas beneficiaries of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) had U.S. taxes deducted from their annuity payments. OPM stated they are under additional requirements from the IRS about reporting income and were updating their systems for the new data fields and many overseas beneficiaries had taxes withheld from their annuity. They are working to have this corrected. They stated that most or all annuitants should see this corrected and paid by their February 1, 2016 payment. For further information you may call OPM at 888-767-6738.
  25. Martyrs’ Day is a Panamanian holiday, which commemorates the January 9, 1964 riots over sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone. The incident is considered to be a significant factor in the U.S. decision to transfer control of the Canal Zone to Panama through the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties. The U.S. Embassy in Panama City advises all U.S. citizens in Panama that Martyrs’ Day will be observed this year on Saturday, January 9, 2016. The U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens to possible street closures and traffic congestion due to scheduled marches and other events around Panama City. All U.S. citizens are reminded of the sensitivity of this day and urged to remain diligent in your personal security. For up-to-date information on security, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. Further information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 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). U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Panama are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in case of an emergency.
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