Travel Advisories, Emergency services and Voting Abroad:
The U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana has increased passport appointments for American citizens as we follow the Department of State’s “Diplomacy Strong” phased approach to resuming operations. Americans may schedule an appointment for U.S. citizen services through our website located here: https://evisaforms.state.gov//Instructions/ACSSchedulingSystem.asp.
We ask that U.S. citizens with confirmed appointments wear a face covering and comply with social distancing requirements while they visit the consular section. As we continue to prioritize American Citizen Services, we are not yet able to resume routine visa services at this time. Answers to common questions on visa services are listed in our July column at https://gy.usembassy.gov/ask-the-consul-july-2020/
Q: Will there be more flights out of Guyana anytime soon?
A: The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority has authorized Eastern airlines to operate two commercial flights per week during the month of August offering direct service between Georgetown to Miami and New York City. Tickets may be booked directly with the airline. If additional flights become available, we will notify all US Citizens using our travel alert system: the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). If you are not enrolled in STEP yet, you should enroll by going to https://step.state.gov/
Q: If I plan to return to the United States, will I be subjected to a 14-day quarantine upon my return to the United States?
A: Each local jurisdiction may have individual requirements. We refer you to the Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control for questions regarding admission into the U.S. and any quarantine requirements: https://www.dhs.gov/coronavirus/protecting-air-travelers-and-american-public]
Q: What happened to the Global Health Level 4 Advisory? Is it safe to travel now?
A: On August 6, 2020, in close coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of State lifted the Global Level 4 Health Advisory. The Global Advisory, initially put in place on March 19, 2020, advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
With health and safety conditions improving in some countries while potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice (with Levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions), in order to give travelers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions. We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.
Q: Why is Guyana now a level 4, when it was at a level 2 before the pandemic?
A: Every country is assigned a Travel Advisory, Level 1-4. Our Travel Advisory levels are based on established risk indicators such as crime, terrorism, kidnapping or hostage taking, civil unrest, natural disasters, health, and other potential risks. Each country’s level is based on our current assessment of conditions on the ground that might affect the welfare or safety of U.S. citizens in that country. The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented risks for travelers, and our destination-specific advisories take into account the latest data and public health and safety analysis on COVID-related risks. As conditions evolve, we will regularly update our advice to U.S. travelers.
Q: How often will you reassess Guyana’s Travel Advisory level?
A: We will routinely review safety and security conditions and update Guyana-specific information as appropriate.
Q; What about cruises? Are those safe now too?
A. Our advice that U.S. citizens not take cruises remains in place at this time (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/cruise-ship-passengers.html). We also refer you to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for additional information on the no-sail order: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/index.html.
Q: What emergency services does the U.S. Embassy provide to U.S. citizens?
A: We can assist you in an emergency in the following ways:
- Replace your lost or stolen passport
- Connect you with information on medical and legal assistance in Guyana (e.g., attorneys, doctors, hospitals, air ambulance services)
- Address emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime
- Explain financial assistance options to return to the United States if you find yourself destitute in Guyana
- Contact family, friends, or employers with your written permission, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974
- Conduct a welfare/whereabouts check on a US citizen in Guyana
Q: If I’m not planning on returning to the United States before Election Day in November, how do I vote?
A: U.S. citizens can receive an absentee ballot by email, fax, or internet download, depending on the state they are eligible to vote in. To find your state-specific information, please visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program at www.fvap.gov.
Absentee voting is a simple two-step process:
- Each year, submit a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to your local election officials. They will:
- Confirm your eligibility to vote and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots for any elections held that calendar year.
- Send you a blank absentee ballot electronically or by mail.
- Complete and return the ballot so it arrives before your state’s ballot return deadline. OR
- If you have not received your blank ballot 30 days before an election, use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballotto vote.
IMPORTANT: U.S. citizens abroad must submit a new FPCA each year to vote in U.S. elections. Submit your FPCA at the beginning of the calendar year, or at least 45 days before an election, to allow ample time to process your request and resolve any problems. Once approved, your name will be put on a list of voters to receive absentee ballots.
Once you determine how to Complete your ballot carefully, legibly, and as early as possible. Make sure to return it to local election officials in time to meet your state’s deadline.
Overseas voters have a number of options for returning completed ballots:
- U.S. Embassy Diplomatic Pouch– You or another person can drop off your ballot request (FPCA) or completed ballot in a designated dropbox outside the consular section for return to the United States. It must be addressed to your local election officials and have sufficient U.S. postage, or be in a postage-paid envelope. A postage-paid envelope is available on the FVAP website. Contact us at VoteGeorgetown@state.gov .
- Fax, Email, or Internet– Some states permit electronic transmission of completed ballots. Consult the Voting Assistance Guide for options in your state.
- Express Courier Service– If time is short or local mail unreliable, you ca use professional courier services such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS at your own expense. NOTE: FedEx does not deliver to P.O. boxes.
We encourage U.S. citizens to stay connected with us via Travel.state.gov and through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/travelgov/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/TravelGov), and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive timely Alerts about evolving health and safety conditions in their planned destinations.
For the latest information on the status of consular operations please go to: https://gy.usembassy.gov/message-for-u-s-citizens-consular-operations-and-status-of-passport-processing-07082020/
“Ask the Consul” is a monthly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. Detailed information about visas and travel can be viewed at https://gy.usembassy.gov/, https://ais.usvisa-info.com/ and https://travel.state.gov/. Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. U.S. Consular rules change frequently, and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information. Please contact our Visa Information Service Center on toll free numbers: 1-877-246-6788 or 703-988-5765 if you have general visa questions.