Message For U.S. Citizens – U.S. Embassy: Warns of Zika Virus Transmissions in Nicaragua

Message For U.S. Citizens – U.S. Embassy: Warns of Zika Virus Transmissions in Nicaragua; Advises Caution When Traveling by Water; Provides Booth for Passport Photos; and 2016 Voting Instructions

Zika:  Further to today’s official announcement by the Government of Nicaragua, there are now confirmed cases of Zika transmission in Nicaragua. Therefore, the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua recommends that all U.S. citizens in and traveling to Nicaragua take appropriate precautions, per CDC guidance. For general information about Zika, 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.

Travel by Water:  The U.S. Embassy in Managua advises U.S. citizens traveling in the region by panga and other types of boat or ferry to consult, prior to embarking, with local naval or police authorities, when present on-site, about the safety of setting out in current local weather conditions, and to exercise a reasonable amount of caution in the face of possibly overloaded or otherwise unsafe vessels.

U.S. Passport Photos:  As part of our efforts to provide better customer service to U.S. citizens in Nicaragua, the U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce that there is now a private provider offering photo services in the U.S. Embassy consular section’s outdoor waiting area.  The cost for the two required 2×2 photos is 120 Nicaraguan córdobas (approximately USD $4.50).  Use of this provider is not required.  For more information about the passport application process, please visit our webpage on U.S. passport services in Managua.

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 FPCA allows 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.Bring your completed ballot and envelope with sufficient domestic U.S. postage to the U.S. Embassy in Managua any Monday-Wednesday or Friday between 1 and 3 p.m. that is not an Embassy holiday.  Tell the guard and greeter in the red shirt the reason you are at the Embassy is to drop off your ballot and they will direct you to the appropriate staff member.  Approximate mailing times to the United States from U.S. Embassy Managua range between one and three weeks, so please account for this mailing time when planning the date to submit your ballot.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 online, 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 Facebook andTwitter.

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 U.S. Embassy Managua’s Voting Assistance Officer at 2252-7100, or at VoteManagua@state.gov.

Remember, your vote counts!

The U.S. Embassy in Managua is located at Km 5 ½ C. Sur Managua, Nicaragua.  The U.S. Embassy in Managua can be reached 24/7 at 011-505-2252-7100.  For emergencies (deaths, arrests, etc.) after hours, U.S. citizens can call this phone number and ask for the Embassy Duty Officer.  The American Citizen Services unit is also available by email during regular business hours at ACS.Managua@state.gov.

General information regarding consular services is available by calling 011-505-2252-7104.  Routine services such as passports and notarial services require an appointment; you can schedule an appointment online.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Embassy’s website and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information can be found.  The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review “A Safe Trip Abroad“, which includes valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad.  In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.