Ask the U.S. Consul April 2016

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Question

I’m an American citizen living in Trinidad and Tobago. What types of services does the Embassy provide to American citizens and can I vote this year at the Embassy?
Sincerely, American in Trinidad.

Answer

Dear American in Trinidad,
Voting is one of our most fundamental rights as U.S. citizens. The FVAP (Federal Voting Assistance Program) works to ensure Service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so – from anywhere in the world.
To find your U.S. State’s primary election dates at FVAP.gov: select the State you want to register to vote in from the drop-down menu at the top left-hand side of the home page. To find your State’s election website for specific information on candidates, elections, contact information, and links to your local election offices, visit FVAP’s contact page.
U.S. elections are managed individually by the 50 States, U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia. This equates to 55 sets of rules for absentee voting. The U.S. Embassy does not offer on-site voting services, however the basic steps for absentee voting are simple:

  1. Citizens register to vote and request an absentee ballot by filling out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), and mailing it to their local election official in their State of legal residence.
  2. The election official approves the FPCA, disapproves the FPCA or requests additional clarifying information.
  3. Once the FPCA is approved, the election official sends an absentee ballot to the citizen.
  4. The citizen completes, and returns their voted ballot to their local election official by their State’s deadline.

Enroll in STEP
As a U.S. citizen living outside the United States, we also encourage you to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service and allows enrollees to receive automatic updates about the foreign country where they are visiting or residing, including Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. More importantly, this program enables the Embassy to contact registrants in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. To sign up, visit: www.Travel.State.gov.

Other Services
Finally, for your general information, the U.S. Embassy offers a range of services to U.S. Citizens visiting and living in Trinidad and Tobago including routine and emergency passport services, report of birth and death of a U.S. citizen abroad, federal benefits, and notary services. Most of these services require you to have an appointment. Appointments are available on our website. You can also reach the American Citizen Services section by email at acspos@state.gov. For emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Trinidad and Tobago, please call the Embassy at 868-622-6371.