By: Patricia Ann Talley, Managing Editor
The Embassy of the United States, located in the capital of Mexico City, is the government representative of all US citizens in Mexico. The Embassy provides emergency services, security and travel information, passports, reports of births or death, and a variety of other assistance for US citizens. Visit the website: U.S. Citizen Services | Embassy of the United States Mexico City, Mexico .
Ms. Maureen A. Smith, Deputy American Citizen Services Chief with the US Embassy in Mexico City, was in Zihuatanejo in June to meet with the Mexican Immigration Department, the Civil Protection Agency, the Red Cross, and other agencies that provide services to US citizens in the area.
Ms. Smith also held a Town Hall Meeting for US citizens in the area during the summer. Another Town Hall Meeting will be held later in the year, when more U.S. citizens will be in the area. The following is a report on the meeting that was held in June.
Travel Warnings: The US State Department issues Travel Warnings and other important announcements such as hurricane warnings or security messages. The Consular Agency Office that services the Zihuatanejo area is located in Acapulco, but travel by highway between Zihuatanejo and Acapulco is currently not advised by the U.S. government. Therefore, Ms. Smith suggested that citizens in the Zihuatanejo area should use the US Embassy in Mexico City, which can be reached by air.
Passport Renewals: One of the main reasons for citizens to visit the US Embassy or Consular Agency Office is to renew passports, but that is only required every ten years. Whether you apply at the Embassy in Mexico City or at the Consular Agency Office in Acapulco, your passport will now be returned by courier mail; no return trip is required. Ms. Smith also advised U.S. citizens to phone ahead for appointments before traveling to either Mexico City or Acapulco to renew their passports.
Register with the US Embassy: US citizens in Mexico, both tourists and residents, are encouraged to register with the U.S. State Department in case of an emergency situation. Please register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at: https://step.state.gov/step/. STEP is the primary means that the U.S. Embassy uses to reach its citizens in Mexico. When you sign up, you will automatically receive email updates, hurricane warnings, security messages, etc.
Hurricane Season: Everyone is reminded that hurricane season is from May 15 to November 30. Take precaution. First, register with the US Embassy’s STEP program to receive travel updates and weather warnings. Other resources for weather information are:
Some precautions you can take:
- Pack an emergency supply kit. See: Build A Kit | Ready.gov
- Keep extra bottled water and non-perishable food items on hand
- Keep an up-to-date list of local emergency numbers and contact numbers
- Place passports and other important documents in waterproof containers
Internal Revenue Service Reporting Changes: If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, exceeding certain thresholds, you may need to report this to the Internal Revenue Service. For complete information, see: Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: