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Posts Tagged ‘ACS’

4th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand is poised to begin exclusively offering routine services at the American Citizen Services section of the Post by appointment only. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

Beginning September 1, 2011, all non-emergency consular services will require an appointment. We hope that this will assist us in providing prompt and efficient consular services to American Citizens residing in Thailand.  Please plan accordingly.

For those who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to United States Missions abroad it should be noted that an American Citizen Services section of a US Embassy, US Consulate, or American Institute provides many services for Americans resident abroad. Such services include, but are not limited to, US Passport issuance, Consular Report of Birth Abroad issuance, Notary Services, and issuance of additional pages to a previously issued US Passport. It has always been this blogger’s personal experience that the ACS unit of the US Embassy in Bangkok handles matters in an efficient and courteous manner. That stated, the unit always seems hectically busy and it would appear that the new policy is aimed at streamlining the processing of pertinent requests.

Those seeking information regarding visas and immigration to the United States should look for information regarding Immigrant Visa Units and/or Non-Immigrant Visa Units at US Posts abroad as those sections are generally tasked with adjudicating applications for visas such as the B-2 visa, the K-1 visa, the CR-1 visa, and the IR-1 visa.

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6th August 2010

As stated in recent postings on this blog, Holiday Closing Schedules for US Embassies and US Consulates overseas are routinely posted on this site in order to provide insight to those American travelers abroad who may be seeking services from a US Embassy or US Consulate located in one’s host country. Also, foreign nationals seeking services at an American Mission abroad may benefit from information regarding Post closure. The following Holiday closing schedule is directly quoted from the official website of the United States Consulate in Chennai, India:

The U.S. Mission will officially observe only the holidays listed below.

Date Day Holiday Type
January 1 Friday New Year’s Day American
January 14 Thursday Pongal/Tamil New Year’s Day
(not for Karnataka)
Indian
January 15 Friday Thiruvalluvar Day Indian
January 18 Monday Martin Luther King’s Birthday American
January 26 Tuesday Republic Day Indian
February 15 Monday Washington’s Birthday American
April 2 Friday Good Friday Indian
April 14 Wednesday Dr. Ambedkar’s Birthday Indian
May 31 Monday Memorial Day American
July 5* Monday Independence Day American
September 1 Wednesday Krishna Jayanthi Indian
September 6 Monday Labor Day American
September 10 Friday Idu’l Fitr (Ramzan) Indian
October 11 Monday Columbus Day American
November 1 Monday Karnataka Rajyotsava Day
(for Karnataka only)
Indian
November 5 Friday Deepavali Indian
November 11 Thursday Veteran’s Day American
November 17 Wednesday Idu’l Zuha (Bakrid) Indian
November 25 Thursday Thanksgiving Day American
December 17 Friday Muharram Indian
December 24** Friday Christmas Day American

* in lieu of July 4, Sunday
** in lieu of December 25, Saturday

Generally, Americans seeking assistance at a US Embassy or US Consulate overseas are in need of services such as Passport replacement, retrieval of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, addition of visa pages, or signature notarization. For services such as this American Citizens are generally wise to check with the American Citizen Services (ACS) section of an Embassy or Consulate overseas in order to ascertain if appointments can be scheduled online. The reason why this is so important is due to the fact that many ACS sections have a great deal of demand placed upon their time. Therefore, scheduling an appointment in advance and specifying the services sought can assist the Consular Officers in streamlining their services in such a way that the customers needs are met quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

Those seeking a US visa abroad must check each Post’s policy regarding visa interview scheduling. Generally, non-immigrant visa interviews are conducted in a different manner compared to Immigrant visa interviews. It has been this author’s experience that for purposes of visa application adjudications abroad K1 visa applications are treated as Immigrant visa applications even though the visa itself is a non-immigrant quasi-dual intent travel document.

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29th June 2010

The administration of this blog attempts to provide relevant information to those travelers and immigrants seeking visas and other services at US Diplomatic and Consular Posts overseas. Over the past few days, we have been posting information regarding the holiday closing schedules of Posts in China. Below are the holiday closing schedules for US Consulates in China. The following is a direct quote from the website of the US Consulate in Shanghai:

The Embassy is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are closed on the following American and Chinese holidays:

2010 Official American and Chinese holidays

January 1                   Friday                New Year’s Day*** January  18                Monday             Martin Luther Jr.’s Birthday*
February 13-17          Sat-Wed           Chinese (Lunar) New Year**
February 15               Monday             President’s Day*
April 5                        Monday             Tomb Sweeping Day**
May 1-3                      Sat-Mon            International Labor Day**
May 31                       Monday             Memorial Day**
June 16                      Wednesday       Dragon Boat Festival**
July 5                          Monday             Independence Day*
September 6              Monday              Labor Day*
September 22            Wednesday       Mid-Autumn Festival**
October 1-5                Fri-Tuesday       Chinese National Day**
October 11                 Monday             Columbus Day*
November 11              Thursday           Veteran’s Day*
November 25              Thursday           Thanksgiving Day*
December 24              Friday                Christmas Day*
December 31              Friday                New Year’s Day (2011)*

*     American Holidays
**   Chinese Holidays
*** Chinese and American Holidays

The following is a direct quote from the website of the US Consulate in Shenyang:

The Consulate is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are closed on the following American and Chinese holidays:

Date Weekday Holiday Nation
January 1 Friday New Year’s Day US & China
January 18 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr’s Birthday US
February 13-17 Sat-Wed Lunar New Year China
February 15 Monday Presidents’ Day US
April 5 Monday Tomb Sweeping Day China
May 1-3 Sat-Mon International Labor Day China
May 31 Monday Memorial Day US
June 16 Wednesday Dragon Boat Festival China
July 5 Monday Independence Day US
September 6 Monday Labor Day US
September 22 Wednesday Mid-Autumn Festival China
October 1-5 Fri-Tue Chinese National Day China
October 11 Monday Columbus Day US
November 11 Thursday Veterans’ Day US
November 25 Thursday Thanksgiving Day US
December 24 Friday Christmas Day

Information imparted below is quoted from the website of the US Consulate in Wuhan:

Holidays for 2010

***    January 1                Friday                   New Year’s Day
*        January 18              Monday                Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
**      February 13-17       Sat-Wed              Chinese (Lunar) New Year
*        February 15            Monday                President’s Day
**      April 5                     Monday                Tomb Sweeping Day
**      May 1-3                  Sat-Mon                International Labor Day
*        May 31                   Monday                 Memorial Day
**      June 16                  Wednesday           Dragon Boat Festival
*        July 5                      Monday                 Independence Day
*        September 6          Monday                  Labor Day
**      September 22        Wednesday           Mid-Autumn Festival
**      October 1-5            Fri-Tuesday           Chinese National Day
*        October 11             Monday                 Columbus Day
*        November 11         Thursday                Veterans’ Day
*        November 25         Thursday                Thanksgiving Day
*        December 24         Friday                     Christmas Day

*     American Holidays
**   Chinese Holidays
*** Chinese and American Holidays

Finally, below is the holiday closing schedule of the US Consulate in Chengdu as quoted from the US Consulate’ official website:

The Consulate is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. We are CLOSED on the following American and Chinese holidays:

DATE

EVENT

January 1 Friday

New Year’s Day***

January 18 Monday

Martin Luther King, Jr.’ Birthday*

February 13-17 Sat-Wed

Chinese Lunar New Year**

February 15 Monday

President’s Day*

April 5 Monday

Tomb Sweeping Day**

May 1-3 Sat-Mon

International Labor Day**

May 31 Monday

Memorial Day*

June 16 Wednesday

Dragon Boat Festival**

July 5 Monday

Independence Day*

September 6 Monday

Labor Day*

September 22 Wednesday

Mid-Autumn Festival**

October 1-5 Fri-Tuesday

Chinese National Day**

October 11 Monday

Columbus Day*

November 11 Thursday

Veterans’ Day*

November 25 Thursday

Thanksgiving Day*

December 24 Friday

Christmas Day*

December 31 Friday New Years Day (2011)*

*      American Holiday
**    Chinese Holiday—Chinese Government offices will be closed
***  Chinese and American Holidays

Those seeking visas overseas such as an Immigrant visa or a K1 visa are wise to contact the relevant Post in order to ascertain the protocols for visa interview. Those seeking assistance from an American Citizen Services (ACS) section of a US Post overseas are prudent to contact the Post prior to arrival as many Posts allow appointments for matters before the ACS unit.

For information regarding attorney assistance with Consular Processing in Bangkok, Thailand please see: US Embassy Thailand.

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28th June 2010

On this blog we regularly post information of general interest to Americans or prospective immigrants seeking services at American Embassies or Consulates abroad. The following is the posted holiday closing schedule for the United States Consulate-General in Guangzhou, China. The following is a direct quotation from the US Embassy in China’s website:

We are CLOSED on the following American and Chinese holidays.

Date

Weekday

Holiday

Nation

January 1 Friday New Year’s Day US & China
January 18 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday US
February 13 - 17 Saturday – Wednesday Chinese (Lunar) New Year China
February 15 Monday President’s Day US
April 5 Monday Tomb Sweeping Day China
May 1 – 3 Saturday – Monday International Labor Day China
May 31 Monday Memorial Day US
June 16 Wednesday Dragon Boat Festival China
July 5 Monday Independence Day US
September 6 Monday Labor Day US
September 22 Wednesday Mid-Autumn Festival China
October 1 – 5 Friday - Tuesday Chinese National Day China
October 11 Monday Columbus Day US
November 11 Thursday Veterans’ Day US
November 25 Thursday Thanksgiving Day US
December 24 Friday Christmas Day US
December 31 Friday New Year’s Day (2011)

Holiday closure schedules can be very important for Americans as there often arise situations in which an American believes that the closest US Embassy or US Consulate will be open for business when, in fact, the Embassy or Consulate is closed for a holiday in the host country or one of the more obscure US holidays. This author has personally been the victim of this problem when traveling to the US Embassy in Bangkok and realizing that the Embassy was closed for American Veterans Day. To save others time and  frustration, we try to post these lists so that travelers can plan accordingly.

Many Americans traveling overseas find that they need the assistance of an American Citizen Services (ACS) section of an American Embassy or Consulate overseas. Many find that they need ACS to produce a replacement US passport, add visa pages, or, in some cases, more serious matters must be dealt with that can only be executed by an American Consular Officer.

In situations where a prospective immigrant to the United States wishes to set a visa interview appointment for a K1 visa, a K3 visa, a CR1 visa, or an IR1 visa it may be best if the applicant makes an appointment prior to traveling to the Post in order to be sure that the Post is functioning upon arrival. This is also the case for those seeking a non-immigrant visa such as a B1 visa, B2 visa, F1 visa, or J1 visa. Interviews for these types of travel documents are usually scheduled in advance, but it is recommended that one contact the post prior to interview in order to be fully apprised as to the pertinent protocols.

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16th November 2009

Each year, thousands of American Citizens travel to the Kingdom of Thailand as tourists, business travelers, investors, students, or to visit family in Thailand. In some situations an American Citizen needs something that must be officially issued by an organ of the government of the United States of America. In most cases, the US Citizen can get the official documentation from the American Citizen Services section of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. There was a time when many complained about the service at American Citizen Services (also known as ACS), but today this section is very efficient and staffed by very polite service oriented officers.

Of the many things that American Citizen Services does, one of the most important functions is passport issuance. For those that are interested in obtaining a new American passport while in Thailand, it would be wise to contact ACS as they can facilitate passport issuance. For those who have lost a passport in Thailand or had their passport stolen, it is best to report the theft to the police and then proceed to the American Citizen Services section to obtain a new passport.

It should be noted that it may be possible in limited cases for American Citizens to receive a second passport from ACS. Second passports are rarely issued, but for certain travelers a second passport may be a necessity. Therefore, American Citizen Services and the Department of State may grant a second passport to worthy applicants.

Those that need an American notary can go to the American Citizen Services section because the Consular Officers can notarize documentation for official purposes. Please note that there is a charge for this service and one should check the US Embassy website for an updated fee quotation.

Those getting a Thai drivers license may need to go to American Citizen Services as it may be necessary to fill out an affidavit regarding one’s residence. The same can be said for one who wishes to register a marriage in Thailand as a trip to American Citizen Services may be required.

Some are under the mistaken impression that American Citizen Services has a hand in the Amity Treaty certification process for a Thai Company. This is not necessarily true as the American Citizen Services Section generally does not have any direct involvement in this process except for possible notarizations.

American Citizen Services does not generally deal with US visa matters. Although they do assist in producing a document called a Consular Report of Birth Abroad which can be used for obtaining a US passport on behalf of a child of an American Citizen.  The US Consulate in Chiang Mai also has an American Citizen Services section. It fulfills functions similar to its counterpart in Bangkok.

For those interested in visiting ACS it may be advisable to schedule an appointment in advance via their online appointment scheduling service. To learn more visit the ACS webpage here.

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13th October 2009

The authors have noticed an upsurge of those asking about how to go about replacing a lost passport while traveling in the Kingdom of Thailand. This post is a brief overview of what needs to be done when one loses their United States Passport in Thailand.

In order to receive a new passport one must go to the American Citizen Services (ACS) section of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. This office is located near the Consular Section of the US Embassy, in fact the two rooms are adjoining once one is inside the compound. It is wise to first make an ACS appointment by going to the US Embassy website here

In many cases, people do not plan to lose their travel documents so making an appointment may not be feasible. The United States Embassy website provides the following suggestion:

“When traveling, please remember to carry a photocopy of your passport separately from your passport. In the event of loss or theft, the copy will help facilitate issuance of an emergency passport.”

For those thinking of traveling, keep the above quote in mind as it can save a great deal of time at the Embassy.

At one time, the American Citizen Services Section in Bangkok, Thailand was considered to be one of the worst for customer service when compared against its counterparts in the region. However, over the past 5 years, this office has done a great deal to improve customer service and efficiency. It is now a very customer-friendly office that provides fast effective service.  If an online appointment is set in advance then one could expect to be in and out in relatively short order, depending upon the service sought.

For those who lose their passport, they have the option of either applying for a new passport or applying for an emergency passport. Under limited circumstances, the Embassy will expeditiously issue Emergency Passports that have a very short validity period.

In order to obtain a new passport one will need to provide proof of citizenship such as a Naturalization Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, a Birth Certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Drivers License. Again, due to the likely unavailability of these documents it is always wise to have a copy of the previous passport.

Once the new travel document is issued, one needs to have their Thai Immigration entry stamps replicated in the new passport. Therefore, a trip to Thai Immigration will be necessary. For those with a long term Thai visa, the visa will need to be duplicated in the new passport.

For those in Northern Thailand, the American Citizen Services Unit at the United States Consulate-General in Chiang Mai also could assist with passport issuance. See their website here.

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