Issue 2 | Winter: Jul-Sep 2020
A Brief Note From the Ambassador
My fellow U.S. citizens,
It is a pleasure to share with you the newest edition of American Citizen Quarterly. This edition has important information on how to exercise your right to vote.
I remember well voting for the first time as a freshman in college in 1980. I also remember the efforts I sometime had to make voting absentee while living overseas for over twenty-seven years of my adult life. Is it really worth the effort you might ask?
Our right to vote is hard-won. It took centuries of struggle to establish this right to vote for all U.S. citizens over the age of 18. This civic responsibility is the cornerstone to our democracy. It empowers us to speak up for our communities and to shape the course of history. Every vote counts, and this year we celebrate the Women’s Suffrage Movement with the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the 19th Amendment. This amendment to the U.S.Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying U.S. citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex.
Remember, you have the right to vote from anywhere in the world. It is fast and easy to vote — even from here in Brazil. We have included information in this newsletter to help you request your absentee ballot and return it to the United States.
While we continue to face a serious global health emergency, the U.S. Mission in Brazil remains committed to helping you exercise your constitutional right to vote. Please stay safe and healthy.
Feel free to drop me a line to let me know how you are doing, and please be assured we are here to assist during this time.
Todd C. Chapman
U.S. Ambassador to Brazil
Exercise Your Right to Vote
While we continue confronting the COVID-19 health crisis, the U.S. Mission in Brazil wants to help you exercise your right to vote.
- Register to vote and request your ballot in one easy step by filling out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and sending it to your election office. We encourage you to do this each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.
- Receive and complete your ballot.
- Sign and return your ballot electronically or via international mail, professional courier service, or through the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in Brazil.
Do you have additional questions? Our Voting Message page has more guidance including the mailing addresses of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in Brazil, and our Voting Assistance Officers are available by phone or email during normal business hours. You can also find more information such as FAQs, election dates and deadlines, and non-partisan information about candidates at the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website.
Remember, your vote counts!
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- Embaixada EUA Brasil / US Embassy Brazil
- Consulado Geral EUA / US Consulate – São Paulo
- Consulado Geral EUA / US Consulate – Rio
Travel from Brazil to the United States for Non-U.S. Citizens during COVID-19 Crisis
Many U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) have Brazilian family members and friends who would like to travel to the United States during the COVID crisis. Although each situation is different, please consult the following links for additional information. For current visa holders, the Presidential Proclamation of May 24, 2020 bars the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in Brazil in the 14 days prior to attempted entry to the United States, with some exceptions. For those without current visas, routine visa services remain suspended at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in Brazil. The Presidential Proclamation of April 22, 2020, as extended by the Presidential Proclamation of June 22, 2020, prevents the issuance of most immigrant visas until December 31, 2020. The Presidential Proclamation of June 22, 2020 also suspends the issuance of H-1B, H-2B, L, and some J visas until December 31, 2020. We understand that this suspension of services can disrupt planned travel, and we will provide updates as we receive them.
Update on U.S. Embassy and Consulates General American Citizen Services in Brazil
As conditions in Brazil continue to evolve, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in Brazil look forward to resuming routine services, while protecting the safety of both our staff and our customers. At present, only emergency American Citizen Services are available; we are working to resume normal operations in phases when local conditions allow. Our gradual reopening will follow the Department of State’s “Diplomacy Strong” phased plan, which follows U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. In addition, we are continuously evaluating conditions and will resume operations in accordance with public health data and with local government response measures. We are committed to returning to routine services as soon as it is safe for everyone.
Your Frequently Asked Questions, Answered
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in Brazil are here to serve you. Over the past few weeks, we’ve received many questions about the COVID-19 situation. I want to ensure you have all of the relevant information, so below are answers to some of the top questions we’ve received.
Will flights between Brazil and the United States continue? Will the Embassy and Consulates General provide evacuation services if commercial flights stop?
There continues to be flight availability between Brazil and the United States. While it is always subject to change, as of June 1 there were 10 flights to the United States on a weekly basis. As this could change, if you wish to return to the United States, you should consider doing so now. Otherwise, make sure you have the support network in place and the information that you need to stay here indefinitely. In the event that commercial flights are suspended, the U.S. government does not presently intend to conduct government-chartered flights to the United States from Brazil.
I came to Brazil as a tourist, but I want to stay here to ride out the crisis. How can I extend my legal time in country?
The Federal Police issued a notice extending the period of stay for tourists. Anyone in the country legally as of March 16 can remain until the end of the public health crisis. We advise you to contact the Polícia Federal for information.
Where can I find information and local resources regarding COVID-19?
Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 Information page and CDC’s website for our latest local guidance on COVID-19. There are additional resources available to track the crisis. COVID Radar, a public-private partnership of more than 40 companies and organizations, provides real-time information on COVID-19 cases in Brazil as well as state-by-state projections using data provided by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. MonitoraCovid-19 also offers a variety of information on accumulated COVID-19 cases and graphs.
What support can I expect from the Embassy and Consulates General if the health situation worsens or I get sick with COVID-19?
Private citizens are responsible for paying their costs for any private medical treatment. The U.S. government is unable to arrange for you to be treated at a private hospital or provide you with medical supplies, such as face masks or respirators. Private hospitals generally require proof of the ability to pay upfront. We suggest you review any insurance coverage that you may have, specifically in terms of its international coverage, and we remind you that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. If you feel sick with symptoms of COVID-19, contact your primary care physician or call the nearest hospital before you visit.
How is COVID-19 affecting safety and security in Brazil?
We use the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to provide updates about the safety and security situation in Brazil. If you’re not already signed up, please enroll in STEP. Also, remember to monitor local government sources and local news.
Am I eligible for a U.S. government stimulus check? How can I file for it?
Most individuals who filed a tax return in the United States and included direct deposit information will not have to do anything to receive a stimulus check. Please visit the IRS’s website for the latest information on stimulus checks and eligibility.
What happens if my passport expires or I need a consular service while routine services have been suspended?
Emergency services remain available to those with an urgent need to travel in the next two weeks. Please contact us if you require emergency services, such as a passport, for urgent travel. If you don’t have imminent travel plans, we will not be able to assist you until normal operations resume.
How will the new order in the United States halting immigration affect Brazilians currently in the immigration process?
Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 10014 issued on April 22, 2020, the entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants was suspended as of 11:59 PM on April 23, 2020, for 60 days except for certain, excepted categories. Unless covered by an exception, the Presidential Proclamation prevents the issuance of immigrant visas. Exceptions are as follows:
- to parents, siblings (and their families), and adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens or,
- to spouses and children of lawful permanent residents.
It is important to note that any person who has a valid immigrant visa in his or her possession (issued on or before April 23) may use that visa to enter the United States before the expiration date printed on the visa. By its terms, Presidential Proclamation 10014 is in effect until June 22, 2020, unless renewed by the President. You can review Presidential Proclamation 10014 visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for updates on your immigration case.
How can I register to vote remotely?
U.S. citizens living overseas can vote absentee in their state’s upcoming election, no matter where they are. The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential impact it may have on the election cycle. For additional information on potential changes to your state’s primary election and how to vote absentee, visit FVAP.gov/COVID-19.