U.S. Embassy - Weekly Bulletin March 5th
People can still view the Facebook Virtual Townhall at https://www.facebook.com/mexico.usembassy/videos/149837746394477/
We will not have another Live event – but the Embassy might put out another video answering questions.
Main message from the Townhall: If you are an American tourist, please return to the U.S. now. If you are an American permanent resident, please think long and hard about your personal situation, underlying conditions, health insurance, ability to shelter in place, financial situation, etc. If you decide to leave, please do so now. If you decide to stay, please expect to be her for an indefinite amount of time.
We are not repatriating US Citizens at this time. There are still commercial flights and the border is open to all U.S. Citizens.
Embassy is now following CDC protocol that everyone wear masks. This might soon become required by Mexican law. Nothing definite yet. Best to start figuring out how to get some/make some cubrebocas if you do not have any now.
We do not have clear guidance on Mexican visas at the moment – in terms of extensions, etc.
The best advice we can give is that individuals pay the MXN 500 pesos at the airport upon departure.
They might have to try several times to get through via phone. We recommend trying their email or making a visit to their local INM office and prepare for a wait.
Tel# 800 00 46 264
“#FelizViernes| Estamos listos para atenderte a través de nuestro Centro de Atención Telefónica ☎️ ¡Llámanos!”
Mexico’s Policy and response to COVID-19
Mexico COVID-19 hotlines
US Govt Stimulus package.
The IRS website has been updated. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
Today, I received the following from my congressman Gerry Connelly (D-VA) – it is not specific about American living at home or abroad:
“I'd like to take a moment to update you on the status of the Economic Impact Payments that the IRS will soon begin delivering to hundreds of millions of Americans.
As you may know, the CARES Act provided funding for direct payments to Americans in response to the economic impact of COVID-19. Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child.
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return. For more information and FAQs, please click here.
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US Embassy travel advisory
US Border Restrictions
The US Borders are open to ALL AMCITS and LPRs (Green card holders/Legal Permanent Residents)
It is open to ESSENTIAL travel for others.
Air Travel from Mexico to the US is not affected by this.
People are having difficulty getting through to airlines, confirming flights, changing flights and getting refunds. They need to keep trying contacting the airlines via phone, website, email, social media, and/or visiting local office or airport. Some have gotten satisfaction by contacting the US Dept of Transportation (this is only for flights to/from the US).
Passenger rights in Mexico:
Passenger rights for the US:
File a Consumer Complaint with DOT:
Social Security Scam
Our Federal Benefits Office alerted us to a current COVID-19 related Social security scam:
For more information, please visit https://oig.ssa.gov/scam
https://oig.ssa.gov March 20, 2020
Inspector General Warns Public About New Social Security Benefit Suspension Scam
The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning the public about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19 or coronavirus-related office closures. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not suspend or discontinue benefits because their offices are closed.
The Social Security Office of the Inspector General has received reports that Social Security beneficiaries have received letters through the U.S. Mail stating their payments will be suspended or discontinued unless they call a phone number referenced in the letter. Scammers may then mislead beneficiaries into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain regular benefit payments during this period of COVID-19 office closures.
As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, local SSA offices are closed to the public due to COVID-19 concerns; however, Social Security employees continue to work. Social Security will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Any communication you receive that says SSA will do so is a scam, whether you receive it by letter, text, email, or phone call.
Social Security will never:
• threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fine or fee;
• promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment;
• require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card;
• demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem; or
• send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.
If you receive a letter, text, call or email that you believe to be suspicious, about an alleged problem with your Social Security number, account, or payments, hang up or do not respond. We encourage you to report Social Security scams using our dedicated online form, at https://oig.ssa.gov. Please share this information with your friends and family, to help spread awareness about Social Security scams.