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Taxes

Part of the requirement of being a US citizens is that you must file and pay any relevant taxes annually no matter where they live and work. Americans who are resident in foreign jurisdictions (countries) must also first file and pay taxes to the country of their residency and then make a declaration to the United States (see taxation section for more information on this).

 

US Passports and Social Security numbers

US citizens, even if they are citizens of another country, must enter and leave the United States using their US passport when visiting for leisure or business.

American Citizens can request or renew a US passport at any time either at a US passport facility in the US (usually your local post office) or at a US consulate abroad. If you haven't had a US passport previously, you'll have to prove your US citizenship either with a US birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or a Certificate of Naturalization.  In addition to proof of citizenship and proof of identity, you will also have to provide your full name and any previous names you've had (due to marriage, etc.), date of birth, your permanent address and valid mailing addres (either US or foreign), and your Social Security number (if you have one). The necessity of providing this information was formalized by an amendment to Article 26, Part 301 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which went into force on July 18, 2014.

ACA, Inc. comments: While not discussed in the regulations, it seems clear that the IRS, with this information, can check to see whether tax returns are being filed. The IRS might want to automatically send out a request for income tax forms if its records show that no forms have been filed. These rules do not provide that a passport will not be issued or will somehow be invalidated or “frozen” if forms/returns are not filed. This subject is, in a fashion, addressed in other proposed legislation that would, in effect, freeze or cancel a passport where the individual did not pay a sizable tax liability.

Recently, there has been some confusion regarding the need for providing a US Social Security number for US passport applications and US passport renewals.

If a US citizen has been issued a US Social Security number, they must provide this number on their application to renew/apply for a US passport (From State Department page: 22 U.S.C. 2714a and 22 C.F.R 51.60(f) requires you to provide your Social Security number, if you have one, when you apply for a U.S. passport or renewal of a US passport.)

If, however ,a US citizen has never been issued a US Social Security number there is no need for a US citizen to apply for a US Social Security number in order to obtain to renew or apply for a US passport.  However, US citizens who do not have a Social Security number, when applying for a US passport, must provide a signed statement stating that they were never issued a US Social Security number.
 
At ACA’s suggestion, the US State Department has updated the FAQs found on their page, “Applying for a US passport from outside of the United States website page,” to include the aforementioned information, see: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/applying-for-a-u-s--passport-from-outside-the-united-states.html .  
 
Although Social Security numbers are not needed when applying for or renewing US passports, US Social Security numbers are needed for other US government agency services and US employment purposes.  ACA recommends that US citizens considering more interaction with US government services, for filing US taxes, entering the US employment market, etc., consider applying for a US Social Security number.
 
Beginning on November 1, 2016, glasses should NOT be worn for US passport photos.  For more information on this and general passport photo requirements, see: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/photos/photo-examples.html

 

Military Service

Under current law, all male US citizens are required to register with the US Selective Service System within 30 days of their 18th birthday.

At the present time there is no obligation to serve (induction), but registering for the draft is still required for all men between the ages of 18 and 25, even for US citizens living abroad. In addition, non-US-citizen males between the ages of 18 and 25 (inclusive) living in the United States must register. This includes permanent residents (holders of green cards), refugees, asylees, and illegal immigrants. Foreign males lawfully present in the United States who are non-immigrants, such as international students, visitors, and diplomats, are not required to register.

Failure to register as required is grounds for denying financial aid, federal grants and loans, certain government benefits, eligibility for most federal employment, and, if the person is an immigrant, can deny eligibility for US citizenship. Those who were required to register, but failed to do so before they turn 26, are no longer allowed to register, and thus may be permanently barred from federal jobs and other benefits, unless they can show to the Selective Service that their failure was not knowing and willful.

If you are a US citizen living or visiting overseas at the time you are required to register, go to the nearest US Embassy or Consular office where personnel will assist you in registering. You can also register online at the Selective Service web site http://www.sss.gov.

Until their 26th birthday, registered males must notify Selective Service within ten days of any changes to information regarding his status, such as name, current mailing address, permanent residence address.

A dual national whose other country of nationality has an agreement with the US which specifically provides for an exemption is exempt from induction. However, he should be registered with Selective Service. Some countries have agreements with the US which exempt an immigrant or national, who is a citizen of both that country and the US, from military service in the US Armed Forces. An immigrant who requests and is exempt under an agreement or bilateral treaty can never become a US citizen, and may have trouble reentering the US if he leaves.

An immigrant who served at least a year in the military of a country with which the US is involved in mutual defense activities will be exempt from military service if he is a national of a country that grants reciprocal privileges to citizens of the US.

For more information, see the Selective Service System website http://www.sss.gov.

 

This ACA webpage was updated on 17 November 2016.