December 23, 2016 – U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv Message for U.S. Citizens

 

Fee Change for Applications for Citizenship under the “Grandparent Clause”

American citizens living abroad should note that a new fee schedule will apply to applications for U.S. citizenship through Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), also known as the “Grandparent Clause,” that are postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016. The filing fee is increasing from $600 to $1,170 per child.  For a complete list of all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fee changes, please see here:

https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees.

If you are an American citizen but you do not meet the physical presence requirement to transmit citizenship to your child born outside of the United States, your child may be eligible for citizenship if one of your parents, the child’s U.S. citizen grandparent, did fulfill the physical presence requirement.  The child must be under the age of 18, unmarried, and residing outside the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.  The grandparent can be living or deceased at the time of the application.

If you live abroad, you can apply for expeditious naturalization through the “Grandparent Clause” for your child by completing the N-600K form.  You need to send the form with the required fee and the initial evidence described in the forms to the USCIS address listed in the form’s instructions, not to the Embassy in Tel Aviv.  USCIS will determine whether or not your child is eligible.  If the case is approved, USCIS will then send you a letter and naturalization appointment date accordingly.  Please consult https://www.uscis.gov/n-600k for more information about applying for citizenship under Section 322 of the INA.

New IRS Policy:  ITIN Numbers to Expire If Not Used Every Three Years

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is implementing significant changes made to the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) program under the PATH Act of 2015.  The new law means that as of January 1, 2017 any ITIN not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid for use on a future tax return unless the taxpayer renews the ITIN.   In addition, all ITINs issued prior to 2013 will begin to expire this year and taxpayers will need to renew them.

The first pre-2013 ITINs that will expire are those with middle digits of 78 and 79 (Example:  9XX-78-XXXX).  The renewal period for these ITINs began October 1, 2016.  The IRS began to mail letters to this group of taxpayers in August to inform them of the need to renew their ITINs in order to file a tax return, and explain the renewal steps.  The IRS will announce the schedule for expiration and renewal of ITINs that do not have middle digits of 78 and 79 at a future date.

If taxpayers have an expired ITIN, not renewed before filing a tax return next year, they might face a refund delay and be ineligible for certain tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, until they renew the ITIN.  More information is available at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/individual-taxpayer-identification-number-itin.

Social Security Numbers Now Required for Passport Applications

Effective October 1, 2016, all U.S. citizens are required to include their correct Social Security number on passport applications.  If you have never been issued a Social Security number, you will be required to sign a declaration under penalty of perjury attesting to this fact.  Refusal to provide your number may be grounds for passport denial.

The Embassy does not have access to Social Security numbers and cannot provide it to you.  Those who do not know their Social Security number should contact the Federal Benefits Unit at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem before applying for a passport.  Their website is: https://jru.usconsulate.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/

Please take a few extra minutes to find your Social Security card and avoid needless complications when completing your passport application.