Tag Archives: Immigration

Importance of Documenting Phone Records for J1 Visa Spouse Immigration

A J1 visa is a visa that allows someone from a foreign country (non-US citizen) to come to the United States in order to participate in come sort of activity that promotes the exchange of cultural ideas. More specifically it is granted to students that come to the United States to study business or medicine. Residents of some countries are required to have a job offer secured in the United States before they can start the J1 visa application process.

Spouses and unmarried dependents under the age of 21 may apply for something called a J2 visa. This visa is for those family members to join the employed J1 visa holder or enrolled student J1 visa holder in this country. The J1 visa categories of child care providers, youth counselors, high school exchange student ecetera do not allow for J2 dependent visas as they are only intended to be short term visas. The J1 visas, other than the short term ones just mentioned, can last anywhere from one year to five years.

In order to secure a J2 visa, you have to provide proof that the dependents you are petitioning to have join you in the United States of America are indeed your dependents. This is proof must show that you are the financial support for those people. That could be your spouse, any children (adopted or natural born), etc that derive their financial support from you, the J1 visa holder. This proof can be in the form of marriage licenses, birth certificates, adoption paperwork, etc.

Maintaining phone records throughout this process is never a bad idea. The original J1 visa holder is required to have sponsor. That sponsor is usually an employer or an educational institution like a university. The phone records of who was talked to and when could be used in the process of securing a Certificate of Eligibility (form DS-2019). Records of all communications with the United States Department of State and Department of Homeland Security could be of service in expediting the matter. All calls should be documented by recording the day, time, location, and person (or persons) spoken to.

About the Author
Jo Harris is a writer and the Director of Content for the Morgan Law Firm, an Austin, Texas divorce firm. Please visit the Morgan Law Firm Blog for additional content.

Related Blog Post:

Phone Card Can Help You Win Family US Citizenship after Student Visa

Read this post to learn how using Pingo to call family while away from home can help with visa applicant call records to help show their family relationship is intact and genuine.

Disclaimer:

his site does not compensate its guest bloggers for their posts. The opinions expressed in the guest posts are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of iBasis.  In addition, iBasis does not review the posts for factual accuracy and therefore does not vouch for the accuracy of any facts contained in this guest post.

Best New Immigrant Gifts to Send Overseas To Your Family

Many immigrants travel in search of new and better opportunities, some for business, others for freedom. Regardless of the reason, not everyone immigrates with their entire family, and for most, there are still many family members that remain in their homelands.

While you are abroad, there is often the desire to stay in contact with the family you love. There are various means of communication for this, some of which are feasible and others that may not be so easily achieved.  We’ve compiled some of the best new immigrant gifts to send overseas to your family.

What to send?

Perhaps the most classic method of communication is writing. Whether it is a postcard or a lengthy letter, the mail has delivered messages and packages throughout the world. But, you may be concerned about what types of things to send to your family. What types of things would be useful? How can you remind your family that you are thinking of them, even when they are on a completely different continent from you?

To combine the two, nothing is better than a gift that says you are being thoughtful as well as mindful. Start by thinking about what you needed when you were home. Were there some items that were on a wish list? Perhaps there were a few items that you needed which weren’t readily available or may have cost too much in your homeland. Certain items can be rare in other countries, while exuberantly abundant in others. This may be a great time to buy gifts to send overseas to your family for these few items that are “hard-to-get.”

Lighting up their life always is appreciated

What about lighting?  It’s always great to have a guiding light in your house, especially when you find yourself in the dark. A simple hand-held LED flashlight is always a handy gift and comes in handy in just about any situation. Some flashlights are even combined with a small tool assortment, making them a handy tool to have around the home. Certain tools can be handy and may even be needed for your family to conduct business or work in their homeland.

You should also consider clothes. What about gear such as shoes and boots? These things can be customized to just about anyone’s style or desire, and there are even locations where you can get custom made t-shirts with pictures or writings on them.

Consider a box collection of postcards that has a variety of different scenes of your new city or country. It will save your family the trouble of writing you back, which is a plus since you’ll be able to hear from them more often. As they write to you, they can get an idea of where you are and share some of their experiences with you as well.

Music and art is not always readily available abroad, especially music that is specific or regional. You can share a taste of your new culture or even provide a few favorites that they don’t have. Regardless, music always makes for a great gift. Just make sure you send them the means to play it with as well. In addition, the arts combine a wide range of different mediums. You may have family members that enjoy painting or drawing. As simple as it may sound, some paper and pens can go a long way to making someone happy as a gift to send abroad.

The gift of your voice

What about a way to call you back? Not every country is renowned for its cellular services, and this would make a great opportunity to look into singing up for Pingo to take advantage of the Family Plan to make international web dial calls from over 200 countries for just 1.75 cents per minute. Then you’d be able to stay in contact with them more conveniently with guaranteed crystal clear quality.

Pay attention to the rules

What type of postage and packaging would you need? Consider what you will need to be able to send packages across international borders. What is allowed to travel across boarders? You don’t want to send anything that will be returned or confiscated, so do proper research on banned or prohibited items.

Communication is doubly important.  You’ll want to consider investing in a prepaid international calling card service  so that you can update family on gifts you’re sending or even the stories that “go with” your gifts.

Take the time to think of the thoughtful things you can send your family that can help them out as well as remind them that you are thinking of them. Send them a message or gift to send overseas, but always send them your thoughts. Though you may be in a completely different country, you can always stay close as long as you never forget those you love.

**Photograph “Amazing Treasures from the Land of Mr. Cranston and his Crime Fighting Ladyfriend Bumbles!” under Creative Commons Attribution

Immigration and Families Living Abroad

While it seems that those around us are our closest relatives, we can all familiarize ourselves with relatives spread throughout the world. You may have relatives such as aunts and uncles or even your own parents who live in various other countries of which there can be variations of different cultures. And while your family members may share your same or similar traditions and practices, families living abroad in a new environment always calls for a few adaptations of your own.

New places will always have their new cultures, people, and even languages to learn and adopt into your lifestyle. It is improbable to sanction yourself within the familiarity of just your family because they too live in a new place. Their ways may not even be your ways. Traditions may be different as well as practices and habits.

Become a part of your new community

So, it is up to you to integrate yourself into your new community. The challenge is changing and adapting to new cultures of new or different places. Regardless of where you’ve lived before, there is always a change that comes with where you live now, regardless of distance.

Getting involved in your new community is the first step. Your family can help you with this, especially because they will already be involved with their community to some degree.

In your new community, activity is important. Join in group activities, such as religious gatherings and community events where you can interact with others and come to understand your new environment. Traditions will always differ to some degree, and because it is still important to hold on to your own heritage and traditions, you can become a far more active member by sharing in your own knowledge.

Sharing is possibly the greatest way to integrate yourself into a new place. The familiarity of family does offer the comfort of familiarity, which can provide security and trust to help develop a quality relationship with your new community. Remain open and informative with others, especially since many will likely be curious about you too. Take advantage of such curiosities by sharing your own culture with them and the surrounding community. Don’t just adapt to your environment, become a part of it.

Speak

While adjusting to a new culture is always a challenge, there is also the concern of learning a language. That is not to forget the accent or dialect that often coincides with such changes. Here is where family plays such a big role by filling you in on the details. Many immigrants become familiar with a language before they commute, but there are always the little particulars that will ease the transition. These can include such differences in regard to dialect, pronunciation, and even local slang that is appropriate. Basically, you will want to learn how to communicate, not just learn a language.

Contact for comfort

Of course, hearing the familiarities of home is always a comfort. Staying in contact with your homeland can help ease stress and provide a familiar comfort that you can always depend on. You may even speak with friends, family, familiars, and even work associates back home so that you can maintain a quality relationship both at home and in your homeland. You might simply call and ask your family for comfort, or you just may want to stay in touch with your homeland. Though distances create a barrier, they don’t have to remain a blockade for communication. Through international calling services, you can stay in contact with a comforting voice that is thousands of miles away. Call for comfort or call to stay in contact with school, work, or just checking in on some friends.

The best thing about having family in your new environment is that you can always ask them for advice. What should you do? What can you do? How can you make the most out of your new home? There are limitless questions to ask and every answer will bring you closer to adapting to your new home and community. As long as you keep an open mind and are willing to expand your horizons, you can quickly find yourself becoming a part of your community.

Immigrating to a new place is often eased when you can live with familiar family. And although a familiar family can make adjustments to a new land easier, becoming familiar with new cultures and new traditions by interacting with your new world will help make way for a newer and more proactive person within you.

* We hope you enjoyed this article on immigration and families living abroad however we advice you to only use this as an intro guide and seek professional help whenever possible to assist with this journey live abroad with your family.

**Photograph “Call Home” by Jonwa60 under Creative Commons Attribution

The Do’s and Don’ts of Living Abroad with a Sponsored Family

In today’s open world, the ability to immigrate is a fast growing trend. If one doesn’t like their present situation or lifestyle, they have the option of relocating to a new place with new opportunities. For these reasons, many nations are composed of not just one culture, but are becoming a conglomeration of different people from different places all living abroad with sponsored family.

When finances become difficult or opportunity comes with limits, it is a popular choice for children to immigrate to live with sponsoring families elsewhere. A child may find himself living with a completely new family, perhaps cousins or distant relatives, or perhaps brothers and sisters who’ve immigrated before and have settled into their new community.

But there is a trick to this type of situation, mostly because a new person, especially a child, brings along many new responsibilities. Children will likely need to attend schooling, won’t be able to work, and will leave traces in every aspect of a common household.

Not just for the family, the child must be responsible as well. The child must consider himself a guest within his or her new home rather than expect the sponsoring family to be completely obligated to the child.

Consider the family members that are already occupying the household. Many immigrating children find themselves living in an overcrowded home.

It’s also important to consider that some kids may be accustomed to different lifestyles and habits. In a new household, this can occasionally become a problem while living abroad with family. There may also be a language barrier as well.

While it’s important that children get the help they need and feel that they are in a situation where they are free to ask whenever, it is often small habits and practices that can sometimes get in the way or make someone feel like a burden when moving into a new home.

Keep the load light

So how does one lighten the load your sponsoring family experiences with a new addition to their family? There are many things to consider, some blatantly obvious while others are often overlooked or misconceived.

The best places to start consist of keeping condiments, such as your toothbrush and other toiletries out of sight and avoid cluttering the household you live in. Basically, the art of cleaning up after yourself is something one should master when living with a sponsored family. Always keep in mind the many burdens and responsibilities that are often unseen and rarely discussed, such as feeding an extra mouth, transportation, and even clothing. Take care of what you’re given and always show appreciation.

You can also help out wherever you can, such as household chores. Things as simple as washing the dishes, yard care, and even simply doing your own laundry can really make a difference by lightening the load your family experiences.

What about the simple concept of “getting on each other’s nerves?” This is a big issue that isn’t normally discussed, but often goes undetected and can bring about uncomfortable issues within the household. Schooling incorporates homework, which may demand quiet or study time. This can demand space and silence to provide a quality environment for education. Be aware and respectful of these important times of the day, and consider organizing your own schedule to provide an environment that is accommodating to your sponsoring family, rather than expecting them to accommodate you.

What about coordinating time for privacy? This is especially important when considering who is going to sleep where as well as restroom availability. More than likely, you’ll have a designated domicile that you might have to share, especially when you live in a large family or large household. Don’t spread yourself out across the home or create clutter, such as messy laundry and equipment.

Finally, help others do the same for you. Communication is perhaps the most effective tool when adapting yourself to a new home environment. Be open rather than reclusive.

Stay in contact by utilizing prepaid international calling services, where you’ll be able to contact family overseas. You can ask for advice or just listen to the comforting familiarity of your home while you’re adjusting to your new environment. The best thing about international calling services is that they are easily affordable and won’t hinder your sponsoring family’s phone bills with high-cost long distance calls. It’s a great way to be financially sound while staying in contact with family back home.

When you find yourself in a new country with a new culture, it isn’t just the practices and traditions you need to adapt to. Consider your new sponsoring family and the sacrifices they’ve made to provide a new opportunity for you.

* Use this only as a guide, please seek professional help from a certified counselor that has experience with family immigration support.

**Photograph “Everybody Clean Up” by NazarethCollege under Creative Commons Attribution

Calling All First Generation Immigrants

Every day, people find themselves in new places, cultures, and environments. Some travel for business, while others travel for pleasure. But, for those immigrating to new lands, their purpose is often a little more permanent. With these changes, there come many challenges that must be faced. Not only are there environmental factors to consider, but emotional challenges to face as well. And it’s not only you who has to face these challenges, your family and children must also face them as well.

But what does it mean to be a first gen immigrant? The biggest goal for anybody is to find and provide a better opportunity in life. For many immigrants, this is the main reason that one might travel to new lands in search of economic freedoms, liberties, and a fair chance at the market.

In addition to their own personal desires, it is the very nature of parents to want their children to be better off than they were. This is why they migrate to seek economic freedom and better education opportunities, giving their children a chance at something they didn’t. Of course, the goal isn’t only a matter of education, but also stretches to include the opportunities that their education will provide for them and their families in the future to come.

Challenges to overcome in a new world

One must always consider the challenge of comfortably settling in a new environment. Immigrating families find themselves far away from familiar cultures and people. Change of scenery isn’t the only thing many immigrants notice, but also the fast paced environment of American cultures.

For any individual, adapting to the many challenges of the business world and work environment is one of the first goals of an immigrant. In an open society where those that work succeed, finding quality work is essential in providing for yourself and your family.

Getting a quality education for you and your children is one of the greatest opportunities that exist in America. Public and private school systems provide one of the best educational sources in the world, while universities and graduate schools are readily available all throughout the country. This is one of the leading reasons that many immigrants seek education in the United States, and there is the combination factor in which grants provide an increased opportunity and advantage for immigrating families, enabling their children and themselves to attain a higher education.

A challenge within

One of the biggest challenges of migrating is adapting to a completely different culture. You’ll be leaving family and friends behind which can be an emotional and distressing event. Children are also particularly affected when they are displaced from their homeland.

For children, issues of “fitting in” are often far more difficult than for an adult. New places will mean new faces and usually new languages. Keep in mind that language isn’t just words, it is a combination of accent and pronunciation as well, which can be difficult to adjust to in a new culture, making communication a challenge for many first generation immigrants and their children.

While communication may seem like a physical challenge, it can take emotional tolls on people as well, leaving immigrants frustrated. While there are those in the world that want you to succeed, there will be those that will try to hold you back. It is always important to dissuade negativity and surround yourself with people that will support your success in your ventures. Many immigrants actually seek areas where their own culture is still strong, such as neighborhoods where fellow immigrants have relocated to. Here, support is readily available, and there will be others who can help you adjust to the new cultural changes.

One of the best ways to help alleviate emotional stress is to maintain a balance in cultural differences. International calling services will allow you to communicate with friends, family, and business in locations throughout the world. As many immigrants may realize, relocating to a new land isn’t a singular event, often taking years of planning and travelling. Many of these prepaid calling services are less expensive than regular service providers, and can be taken with you wherever you go in the world.

Immigrating to a new land will challenge both you and your family. But finding a new home with new opportunities is a reward that is often worth the trials you may face. Just remember that you never have to face them alone, as long as you have someone to talk to regardless of where they may be in the world.

**Photograph “American Airlines B767″ by RHL Images through Creative Commons Attribution

Republic Celebration Day – Ghana

Many countries throughout the world celebrate their great accomplishments of freedom and change. And why not celebrate such an important thing? Freedom is never free and should be graced with praise by those that have such a great opportunity in life.

To really understand where this freedom comes from, it is important to understand what a republic is. This government is founded on the principles in which decisions and laws are established based on the will of a significant portion of the people. In other words, the people have the power to do what they believe is necessary to maintain freedom and become a thriving nation.

For the inhabitants of Ghana, July 1 is the Republic Celebration Day, although this year, it will also be celebrated on July 2 as well. In order to commemorate the anniversary of 1960, when Ghana declared itself a Republic within the Commonwealth of Great Britain, this day has been designated specifically to Ghana, while many other countries also have their own specific Republic Celebration Days to commemorate their success for freedom.

Celebration:

While the majority of celebrative activities involves the rewarding of excellence, dedication, and the hard, selfless work of the citizens for their contributions towards the advancement of the republic nation, there are also the simple reflections that honor those that have dedicated their lives and efforts to strengthening the Republic of Ghana.

But the celebration doesn’t stop with the bolstering of flags, wreath decorating, and dinner parties. There are many more ways and opportunities in which the people can not only celebrate and honor their republic, but also ensure that the practice is passed on to the next generation.

While the freedom of the people brings a great deal of inspiration to all, it is also important to take the time to give thanks to the Almighty. National Republic day isn’t only a day of celebration, but also dedicated as a national prayer day as well.

As a practice of any free nation, it is the practice of the republic to vocalize their National anthem and patriotic songs to commemorate their nation.

In addition to festive celebrations, it is also essential that the quest for knowledge and education continue in order to help freedom find prominence in our culture, wherever we may be. Freedom is incredibly inspiring, providing the opportunity to dream, think, and believe whatever we will.

Keep in mind that freedom starts at birth, and must be taught to succeeding generations that will inevitably follow your path. Youth must be empowered to take on the roles of leadership needed to ensure the continuation of freedom for the people.

One of the main tasks of the Republic Celebration is to educate the youth concerning the roles they must play in society. In the Ghana Republic, the youth are allowed to participate in many levels of political policy, activities, and processes, although they often remain on the periphery, much like an internship that provides education and prepares them for the roles they will play later on in life.

Education continuously involves students across the nation, incorporating the practice of inter-school essay competitions and the celebration of national republican pastimes and practices. Within the education system, these beliefs are passed onto students so that they can carry on and succeed their leaders in the years to come.

Afar, yet celebrating your culture

While there aren’t many international celebrations for the nation of Ghana, those who have migrated to other parts of the world will want to remember the source of greatness that made them who they are. International calling services allow you to stay in contact regardless of where you may be in the world.

In America, the practice of many nations is found throughout the culture. While not prominently practiced due to the overwhelming cultural conglomerations, the celebrating of national and cultural heritage remains a popular practice throughout the country within similar communities.

One of the best ways to integrate and celebrate your own culture is to find similarities with the surrounding philosophies. By educating and sharing outside of your community, you empower the practice of Freedom, ensuring that it will continue on throughout the future generations of many cultures.

Celebrating your heritage isn’t just about reflecting on your own nation and what it has accomplished, but includes the essentiality of sharing it with the world around you. Share your freedom, hopes, dreams, and culture with those around you. When you give the world new opportunities, you will truly understand what it means to celebrate Ghana’s Republic Day.

We happily serve many in staying connected with their family and friends in Ghana.  We at Pingo.com wish all the Ghanians a very happy Republic Day!

**Photograph “Ghana – The Black Stars” by Amanda Rykoff under Creative Commons Attribution

Help Missionaries Save on International Phone Calls

There are millions of missionaries scattered all over the world, some of whom are assigned to very remote places. Oftentimes, the churches supporting these ministries have tight budgets. Hence, it would be of great help to ministries and churches if they could purchase affordable calling cards like Pingo for their missionaries abroad. There are 3 great reasons why this is practical advice:

*It helps save money for the people supporting these missionaries by saving as much as ninety-percent on international calls. Pingo offers very low rates for international calls so that missionaries can keep in touch whenever they need to. Usually, the ministry will only allocate a small portion of their budget for communications. Through these very affordable calling cards, you can offer encouragement to missionaries abroad all the time.

*Being able to communicate easily while abroad enhances the safety and well-being of missionaries. They travel to dangerous areas at times, so providing calling cards for them allows them the opportunity to phone for help or backup whenever necessary. Missionaries also have to update their churches concerning developments in their area every now and then. But since they sometimes have to live in remote areas, they are forced to travel quite a bit just to buy phone cards to do so. With convenient international calling cards like Pingo, missionaries won’t have to risk traveling from a remote area just to buy prepaid calling cards.

*Pingo is very convenient to use. One of the least concerns that missionaries want to deal with is technology. Their main concern should be helping people and evangelizing. A Pingo international calling card is easy to use. There is no need to dial a PIN at all. Plus, there are apps for iPhone’s, Blackberry’s, and Android’s. It’s also cost-efficient due to its auto-recharge feature which ensures that important calls will not be cut-off. Most of all, users are guaranteed high-quality calls.

Getting calling cards for missionaries abroad is a practical move for anyone. Support them by giving them access to better communication services.

Note: Pingo does not solve any roaming problems and is not liable for any such charges. There are certain countries where Pingo access is not available. In these countries, missionaries will have to rely on Pingo soft phone services.

How to Live and Work in the USA

The USA is one of the toughest countries to migrate to. Being able to live and work in the USA very much depends on your dedication to acquiring the required visas and documents, and also on your own qualifications. There are several ways to move to the USA, and to gain the ability to work. You can choose to work in the country on a permanent or temporary basis depending on your situation.

Temporary Working Visa

It is possible to arrange for a temporary visa to enable you to work in the USA for a short period. This visa allows you to enter the country and perform the task you have been granted permission for. On this visa, you will not be allowed to perform work on anything else. It is a highly restricted visa and it is only granted for a limited time.

There are a wide range of visas available, depending on the job you plan on doing when you get to the United States.

Permanent Working Visa

This type of visa allows you to enter the USA to live and work there permanently.

There are five levels of visas available for permanent work and they are referred to as Employment Based Immigration. They start at First Preference and pertain to people with extraordinary abilities, down to Fifth Preference. Each category provides detailed criteria which must be met in order for the visa to be issued.

There are approximately 140,000 places each year made available for permanent working visas. These categories filter and give priority to individuals with the most extraordinary skills.

Marriage

This approach to getting a visa is sometimes frowned upon, but if you have a legitimate relationship with an American citizen, you may marry and then apply for a Green Card afterwards.

Student Visas

It is possible to work in the United States on a student visa. Normally, the only work that an international student is eligible for is work on campus, but it is also possible for permission to be granted for employment within the field they are studying in. Permission can only be granted after one year of study.

Exchange Visitors

Temporary exchange visitors may apply for a working visa in the United States under the J1 classification. This includes professions such as teaching an au pair, and is a popular way of working in the US. Many other professions are covered under this scheme, but you would need to check first whether your desired exchange program is covered by the US Department of State.

Once you have gotten your necessary visa and documents and are able to move into the United States to begin your new life, make sure you check out Pingo which can provide you with an easy way to keep in contact with your friends and loved ones back home. Pingo offers fantastic rates and services so you will never have to break your budget when staying in touch.

Working and living in the USA can become a fantastic experience which can help you grow and develop as a person. Once you’ve sorted out how to get there, you can quickly get started on your new and exciting life working in the United States.

Use this guide for informational purposes only. It’s best to seek legal advice from a licensed immigration lawyer in addition to reading this.

Convenient International Phone Service For Quality and Affordable Communication

Traveling abroad is a frequent practice for the business community, where individuals must move from place to place in the course of their operations. Business operations can never be successful without regular communication between suppliers, customers and associates. With the recent development of mobile technology, business people and other frequent travelers abroad have a reason to smile since things have been made easier and much more convenient for them. The only hurdle for many is expensive calling rates when they want to phone back home which can make their trips expensive. This has been addressed by Pingo, the leading provider of affordable international calling cards to all classes of travelers.

There are various factors that should be considered when selecting calling cards for work abroad programs. These factors are aimed at ensuring that the communication to family members back at home, friends, and other parties, is complete. These factors are reliability, customer support, cost effectiveness, and quality service, among others. With Pingo, you are sure that the services provided meet and exceed your expectations. There is a guarantee that the rates you see are the rates applied. This means that there are no hidden charges on top of what is written and disclosed. This makes the calling cards provided by Pingo the most preferred among many visiting travelers from India, Switzerland, Italy and other parts of the world.

It is important to select a calling card that is compatible to phones of all makes. This has been a challenge since most international calling cards are selective to a few specific makes of handsets. This has been solved by Pingo calling cards that work with most types of phones. This is a relief to many users of international calling cards.

When preparing for international travel, it is vital to have these basics to ensure that you can get in touch with people back home at the most convenient way possible. Select the PIN-free dialing calling cards that can enable speed dialing to frequently used numbers. This will facilitate speed and accuracy. Engage a calling card provider that can guarantee effective cost and convenience at all times.

Note: Pingo does not solve any roaming problems and is not liable for any such charges. There are certain countries where Pingo access is not available, and in these countries, people in work abroad programs will have to rely on Pingo soft phone services.

How to Handle Your Taxes When You’re Living Overseas

Tax season is here and many Americans are in the midst of gathering and sorting out their expenses and deductible information. Individuals and businesses are responsible for maintaining their income tax information, but what if you aren’t in the United States?

Many businesses and individuals find themselves living as expats in types of work that require them to relocate or even travel the globe while volunteering. There are even some international real-estate businesses which are becoming popular, as are retirees living abroad. These scenarios present the question: How do I go about paying taxes while living overseas?

An American duty

In 1913, the 16th Amendment was established permitting the federal government to accumulate funds by collecting income tax from American citizens. So, even if you don’t live in the United States, you are still responsible for paying their taxes. Regardless of whether you live overseas or not, it’s vital that you pay taxes for your income if you are an American citizen. Many ignore this important fact, and it can come back to haunt them later on. Also, American business owners who are presently in other countries need to file their taxes.

A common concern is that if you own a business in another country, you’d need to monitor your expenses and taxes paid so you can get a full deduction. It’s good to keep all your accounts on paper, so consider making payments with credit cards rather than cash. Many foreign countries can make this difficult to achieve, especially since cash is easier to use and handy to have. But, if you need to hold records for yourself or business, paper trials are a must for verifying transactions. Also, make sure you keep your expenses and accounts ready long before April 15th (even though for this year filing day is April 17th). This will give you plenty of time to prepare and catch any and all deductions you are eligible for so you don’t miss anything- especially valuable deductibles. You don’t want to run into any last minute issues or realize that you’re missing important information that can cost you in deductibles or even fines.

Because of the elaborate guidelines and regulations, it’s difficult to handle taxes when you’re oversees or living in another country, especially since operations in other countries have their own sets of procedures as well. Because expatriation treaties and taxes can be intricate and complex with the various rules concerning living situations and taxes that vary in each country, consulting with an expert in the field can alleviate and prevent any issues that can arise.

Lending a helping hand

Handling taxes as an expat should only be done if you’re well-versed in the rules and regulations that demand expert attention. Here are some qualities to search for when choosing professional assistance.

1. Not overloaded? If your tax or accounting services are incapable of handling your needs, you can’t expect them to be able to accomplish a professional job. Choose an expert that isn’t taking on more than they can handle.

2. Friendly and helpful qualities are always a plus. You can get accounting services from various professionals so you need to be sure that you are comfortable with who you choose. Don’t feel obligated to choose an expert because they are the only ones you’ve heard of. Do some research before settling on help that you feel comfortable leaving your accounting information with.

3.Some of the qualifications you need to look for in a professional would be experience with other CRM systems, tax software, and Big 4 experience. In addition to these qualities, make sure they have knowledge in handling taxes and tariffs in oversees situations, international regulations, and the present tax laws that exist in your country you currently reside in.

4. Quick access. Nothing is scarier than not hearing back from accountants that you’ve trusted with valuable information. This means that not only do you want to be able to quickly access them, but you want to constantly remain in contact, regardless of where you are. Do they have international access, and more importantly, do you have international access such as internet availability, or phone services that are direct? Contact is a valuable asset in preparing for tax time considering that time itself becomes essential when questions need to be answered or concerns need to be addressed.

Gaining assistance with your expat tax issues isn’t necessary, but it is strongly recommended. There are plenty of professionals that are ready to help, allowing you to spend time focusing on your own concerns, whether it’s business, volunteering, or just enjoying life abroad.

**Use this only as a guide based on available Feb 2012 public data.  Please seak out a certified accountant that has experience in International tax laws related to expats.