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Federal Benefits Unit

Federal Benefits Information for U.S. Citizens

Residents of Botswana that have questions regarding benefits or services from Federal Agencies i.e. Department of Veterans Affair, Office of Personnel Management or Railroad Retirement Board should contact the Federal Benefits Unit in London. The London Federal Benefits Unit website provides information you may find useful.

The best way to contact the unit is via email at You will receive a reply within 3 business days.

If necessary, you can write to the following address:

U.S. Embassy
Federal Benefits Unit
Box 0005
24 Grosvenor Square
London W1A 2LQ

Department of Veterans Affairs


The Department of Veterans Affairs website offers the Federal Benefits Manual for Veterans and Dependents (1997), details of benefits available, and downloadable benefits forms.


Affordable Care Act

U.S. citizens living abroad are generally subject to the same individual shared responsibility provision as U.S. citizens living in the United States. Starting in 2014, the individual shared responsibility provision calls for each individual to have minimum essential coverage (MEC) for each month, qualify for an exemption, or make a payment when filing his or her federal income tax return. However, U.S. citizens or residents living abroad for at least 330 days within a 12 month period are treated as having MEC during those 12 months and thus will not owe a shared responsibility payment for any of those 12 months. Also, U.S. citizens who qualify as a bona fide resident of a foreign country for an entire taxable year are treated as having MEC for that year.  For more detailed information please visit the State Department's webpage about the Affordable Care Act.

All U.S. citizens are subject to the individual shared responsibility provision as are all permanent residents and all foreign nationals who are in the United States long enough during a calendar year to qualify as resident aliens for tax purposes. Foreign nationals who live in the United States for a short enough period that they do not become resident aliens for federal income tax purposes are not subject to the individual shared responsibility payment even though they may have to file a U.S. income tax return. The IRS has more information available on when a foreign national becomes a resident alien for federal income tax purposes. Learn more here.

For general questions about the Act, see the dedicated ACA website operated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS website includes a link to information about whether U.S. citizens residing abroad are subject to ACA. The Health Insurance Marketplace, sometimes known as the Health Insurance Exchange, is a new way to find quality health coverage. To be eligible for health coverage through the Marketplace, you must live in the United States; must be a U.S. citizen or national (or be lawfully present) and can't be currently incarcerated.

For tax issues related to ACA, see the ACA page within the IRS website. The IRS site provides further links/webpages, depending on whether you are an individual, employer, or other organization. For more information, see the Question and Answer page for Individuals.

Social Security Numbers

Applications for Social Security Numbers may be made at U.S. Embassy Gaborone. Your application and supporting documents are forwarded to the London Federal Benefits Unit which assigns a number. The Social Security Number will be mailed directly to you, normally in three to six months.  If you have not received your SSN within six months, please contact the Social security Regional office in London, England by email at providing the following information: applicant’s full name, date of birth, place of birth, mother’s full maiden name and father’s name.

If you are 12 years or older and applying for a Social Security number for the first time, you will need to appear in person, either at a U.S. consular post abroad or at a Social Security office in the U.S.  You will need the following documents:

  • Birth Certificate/Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Passport
  • School records – From twelve years of age to date and/or employment and/or medical records documenting residency outside of the U.S.

Social Security Questions

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided the following guidance for U.S. citizens abroad preparing for the 2015 tax filing season.  This IRS guidance is posted under Federal Benefits and Obligations on

    There are no representatives from the International Revenue Service (IRS) office in Botswana, and the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone is not authorized or qualified to provide assistance or to offer advice on any tax matters.

    The IRS office having jurisdiction over Botswana is IRS in London. We recommend you visit their website you may find information specific to expatriates. Their phone hours are Monday, Friday 9:00am-4:00pm Tuesday-Thursday 9:00am-12:00pm, telephone: [44] (0)20 7894-0477, fax: [44] (0)20 7495-4224. Or you may visit the IRS site directly at

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Frequently Asked Questions