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Four Changes & Processing Delays to Know About Before Traveling

If you’re getting ready to travel abroad and need to apply for or renew a U.S. Passport here are a few things you might need to know:

  1. Passport Processing is Slowing

Getting a U.S. Passport or renewing your U.S. Passport is usually pretty easy.  However, the U.S. State Department has recently made some changes to the passports themselves.  The changes combined with an increase of application requests are creating a massive backlog.  So be sure to plan far enough in advance of your trip!

  1. Passports are Changing

Starting in 2016, changes started taking place.  A major change for many people is eye glasses are no longer allowed to be worn in passport photos. Passports also got a makeover with fewer pages and a special coating to better protect the passport book. A new security chip has also been installed inside the passport to better protect against fraud. The U.S. State Department says you can expect to see even more changes in the future as technology continues to advance.

  1. Passport Six Month Validity Rule

A major passport change many people are unaware of is the Six Month Validity Rule.  Many countries, including the majority of European countries, have adopted the rule.  Under the Six Month Validity Rule, you may be denied entry if your U.S. Passport is set to expire within six months.

  1. REAL ID Act Affects Domestic Travel

The REAL ID Act passed in 2005 and comes into effect January 22, 2018. Per the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “passengers with a driver’s license issued by a state that is still not compliant with the REAL ID Act (and has not been granted an extension) will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight.” Beginning October 1, 2020, EVERY air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of ID to board domestic flights.

For more information about U.S. Passports, click here.

For more information about REAL IDs, click here.

Already have your U.S. Passport, but need help processing your Visa? Email  or call us at 202.386.7575 to find out how we can help.

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Why Guatemala?

Recently, we’ve seen an increase in document legalization requests for Guatemala which sparked our curiosity.  Additionally, in just a few months, on September 18, 2017, Guatemala will become a member of the Hague Apostille Convention. Interested by the uptick and new Hague membership, we did some research to find out “Why Guatemala?”

During our exploration we came across this article on Virgin’s website: The world’s best start-up hubs: Guatemala City, Guatemala.  To our surprise, Guatemala is a hub for Telecom companies!  Strategically located between two oceans, with ports on each ocean, and an EST time zone, Guatemala is well positioned for importing, exporting, and outsourcing.  Furthermore, Guatemala has an amazing resource in its population of hardworking and talented people.  All of these factors combine to make Guatemala an appealing destination for business start-ups.

So, what does Hague Convention membership mean?  Beginning on September 18, 2017, Guatemala will no longer require consular or embassy legalization for documents destined for use in Guatemala.  Instead, an apostille from the appropriate Secretary of State or U.S. Department of State, for federal documents, will be accepted.  Interested in seeing a list of all countries member of or party to the Hague Convention?  Click here.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact our Washington, DC office at 202.386.7575, 877.531.1131 or dcorders@incserv.com.

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It is crunch time!

It’s that time of year when many state and federal offices experience some slowdowns in processing time. For example, the turnaround time for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC is now up to nine (9) business days.

Bear this in mind, if you have deadlines with completion dates of December 30th, it is better to submit your requests, as soon as possible.  Typically, during the holiday season, many embassies, local, state and federal government agencies will experience longer processing times.  Speak with your Client Services Representative today to discuss available expedited handling options.

Please note these turnaround times change rapidly and we will do our best to keep you updated on the changes as they happen.

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday.

Cullan No Comments

DC Gov’t Offices Closed October 10th

All District of Columbia and Federal Government Offices will be closed on Monday, October 10th in observance of Columbus Day. Our Washington, DC office will be open during regular business hours and will be able to provide nationwide assistance and limited services in the District.

The following District services will be available: UCC searches with copy retrieval, lien and court searches, corporate status searches and name availability.

The following District services will not be available: corporate filings, document retrievals, business license services, UCC filings, apostilles and notary certifications.

Most Foreign Embassies will be closed. However, for those Embassies that are open we will be able to provide service.

District offices will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, October 11th.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact our Washington, DC office at 202.386.7575, 877.531.1131 or dcorders@incserv.com.

Cullan No Comments

Chinese Embassy Experiencing Processing Delays

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC is currently experiencing a major document processing delay. Due to technical difficulties,Chinese Embassy Delay the embassy is unable to process any payments. Payments are processed upon completion of work. Therefore completed documents cannot be picked up until payment processing is available again. Incserv can continue to submit documents in the interim. The embassy is actively working to resolve the issue; however it may take several days.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any foreign embassy matter, please contact our Washington, DC office at 877.531.1131 or via email to dcorders@incserv.com. We will update our blog when the issue has been resolved. Please continue to check back here on our blog (www.incserv.com/blog) for further updates on this matter.

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The Panama Papers Part II

Joshua M. Twilley, President of Incorporating Services, Ltd. shares with us the following with regards to the Panama Papers.

The Panama Papers (Papers) put a spotlight on the uses of corporate entities for tax purposes.  While many (if not most) of the entities in the Papers were established legally and are not necessarily involved in legal wrongdoing, the focus on the uses of corporate entities and how they can be monitored while protecting the privacy of entities is an important discussion.  I previously wrote about the Panama Papers here.

Rick Geisenberger, Chief Deputy Secretary of State of Delaware and head of the Department of Corporations, recently outlined some of the issues facing identification and prosecution of those using corporate entities operating in illegal ways.  Mr. Geisenberger’s article appears in the September/October 2016 issue of Delaware Business, a publication of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

This insightful article, which can be found here, also highlights several easy-to-implement solutions to make sure corporate entities are not used for illegal purposes.

Delaware has been a leader on developing best practices for protecting America’s interests, which many other states have adopted.  I agree with Rick that the solution can’t be solved by looking to each state to adopt some form of compliance, with 50 different sets of laws and 50 different levels of corporate involvement.  The currently proposed federal solution outlined in the article would ensure compliance in all jurisdictions, creating a good balance of protection and privacy, and give federal authorities the ability to investigate and prosecute.

The information within this post is intended for general information purposes only. Incserv and its employees cannot offer legal or financial advice. Please consult with your legal counsel for assistance in how this information may or may not affect you and your business prior to making any decisions. The above information (and any attachments) should be judged accordingly.

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The Panama Papers Part II

The Panama Papers Part II

Joshua M. Twilley, President of Incorporating Services, Ltd. shares with us the following with regards to the Panama Papers.

The Panama Papers (Papers) put a spotlight on the uses of corporate entities for tax purposes.  While many (if not most) of the entities in the Papers were established legally and are not necessarily involved in legal wrongdoing, the focus on the uses of corporate entities and how they can be monitored while protecting the privacy of entities is an important discussion.  I previously wrote about the Panama Papers here.

Rick Geisenberger, Chief Deputy Secretary of State of Delaware and head of the Department of Corporations, recently outlined some of the issues facing identification and prosecution of those using corporate entities operating in illegal ways.  Mr. Geisenberger ‘s article appears in the September/October 2016 issue of Delaware Business, a publication of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

This insightful article, which can be found here, also highlights several easy-to-implement solutions to make sure corporate entities are not used for illegal purposes.

Delaware has been a leader on developing best practices for protecting America’s interests, which many other states have adopted.  I agree with Rick that the solution can’t be solved by looking to each state to adopt some form of compliance, with 50 different sets of laws and 50 different levels of corporate involvement.  The currently proposed federal solution outlined in the article would ensure compliance in all jurisdictions, creating a good balance of protection and privacy, and give federal authorities the ability to investigate and prosecute.

The information within this post is intended for general information purposes only. Incserv and its employees cannot offer legal or financial advice. Please consult with your legal counsel for assistance in how this information may or may not affect you and your business prior to making any decisions. The above information (and any attachments) should be judged accordingly.

Cullan No Comments

Delays expected at Some Embassies and Consulates

Deirdre Davis-Washington, Assistant Vice President of Branch Operations in Washington, DC shares the following news with regards to legalizations:

Please note many Islamic country Embassies will be closed one or more days this week beginning Monday, September 12, 2016 in observance of the Muslim holiday, Eid al Adha. This will cause a delay in the processing time of legalization of documents through these embassies.

If you have any questions about obtaining an apostille, authentication and/or legalization for documents to be used in a specific country, please do not hesitate to contact our Washington, DC office at 202.386.7575 to inquire about the specifics of a particular embassy or consulate.

For assistance in Washington, DC with any Federal Agency or Embassy service or to learn more about any of the above mentioned services, contact our office at dcorders@incserv.com.

The information within this post is intended for general information purposes only. Incserv and its employees cannot offer legal or financial advice. Please consult with your legal counsel for assistance in how this information may or may not affect you and your business prior to making any decisions. The above information (and any attachments) should be judged accordingly.

admin No Comments

Delays expected at Some Embassies and Consulates

Delays expected at Some Embassies and Consulates

Deirdre Davis-Washington, Assistant Vice President of Branch Operations in Washington, DC shares the following news with regards to legalizations:

Please note many Islamic country Embassies will be closed one or more days this week beginning Monday, September 12, 2016 in observance of the Muslim holiday, Eid al Adha. This will cause a delay in the processing time of legalization of documents through these embassies.

If you have any questions about obtaining an apostille, authentication and/or legalization for documents to be used in a specific country, please do not hesitate to contact our Washington, DC office at 202.386.7575 to inquire about the specifics of a particular embassy or consulate.

For assistance in Washington, DC with any Federal Agency or Embassy service or to learn more about any of the above mentioned services, contact our office at dcorders@incserv.com.

The information within this post is intended for general information purposes only. Incserv and its employees cannot offer legal or financial advice. Please consult with your legal counsel for assistance in how this information may or may not affect you and your business prior to making any decisions. The above information (and any attachments) should be judged accordingly.

Cullan No Comments

New Things Are Happening In DC!

As you know, Washington, DC is the Capital of the United States. It’s busy and exciting! Right now there are so many new things happening in Washington, DC.

Check out our DC Special Report below!

Apostille and Notary Certificates – The DC Government has changed the look of their Apostille and Notary Certificates. They are now blue and on watermark paper. In addition, the notary certificates no longer have ribbons attaching the pages but are uniform with the Apostille certificates.

Business Licensing – DC Business Licensing has simplified its processes for obtaining a NEW general business license. We can submit an electronic request and print the licenses out same day, if approved by the division. This enables us to monitor the status of your request and be aware should the division have any questions.

Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) – Every federal agency, including the OCC, quotes 20 business days for processing and most times, requests really do take this long to be returned. Our DC office now has the ability to track the progress of requests submitted to the OCC online. We will continue to pick up the original document(s) from the office. This new process is cutting the processing time down for certificates of corporate existence to 7-10 business days. All other copy retrieval requests are still running about 15-20 business days for processing but we hope the new system will continue to improve the turnaround times.

DCRA Biennial Report Deadline – All entities that were required to file its biennial report with the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Corporations Division this year and did not by the final due date of August 31st have now been revoked as of September 1st. However, don’t worry; if you inadvertently overlooked the deadline, you can still restore the status of your company by filing a reinstatement application and your two-year report. Incserv can assist with submitting your filings over the counter and have you back in good standing in as little as one to three days.

Hague Apostille Convention – Just a reminder, Chile, became a Hague Apostille Country as of August 30, 2016. If your documents are state-issued or have been notarized, you can now obtain an Apostille on the state level. If your document is a federally issued document, you will need to obtain your apostille from the U.S. Department of State. There is no need to go to the embassy any longer for full legalization.

For assistance in Washington, DC or to learn more about any of the above mentioned services, contact our office at dcorders@incserv.com.

The information within this post is intended for general information purposes only. Incserv and its employees cannot offer legal or financial advice. Please consult with your legal counsel for assistance in how this information may or may not affect you and your business prior to making any decisions. The above information (and any attachments) should be judged accordingly.