Visa services not affected by US government shutdown

by Ray Clancy on October 16, 2013

As US politicians continue to sort out the country’s budgetary crisis officials have confirmed that visa services should not be affected by the current government shutdown.

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US visas will not be affected by the shutdown as these services are not directly funded by the federal government

The government has been shut since the beginning of the month, the first time this has happened since 1995, after Congress failed to reach an agreement on spending mainly due to the different ideas between Democrats and Republicans over healthcare reforms.

However, according to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, applicants seeking US visas will not be affected by the shutdown as these services are not directly funded by the federal government.

‘Activities carried out by the Bureau of Consular Affairs will continue domestically and abroad, so that means they will continue visa issuance as well as our passport operations,’ she said.

The sector can continue to operate as its funding for the fiscal year 2013 was only received in March so it has residual funds that are available to continue processes.

‘Because we’re able to sustain our operations on a limited basis, the vast majority of normal functions and operations will continue,’ Psaki pointed out.

She explained that fee funded activities, including visa and passport issuance, and US citizen services abroad, will continue to be processed since fees are collected to finance these services.

US Embassies in many countries have announced that they are operating as usual but the level varies from country to country. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that its offices worldwide are open, but added that delays could be encountered if other agencies are involved.

A spokesman for the US Department of State National Visa Center said that processing of immigration visa applications are currently not affected as these functions are funded by contract and not a direct federal appropriation.

‘For the time being, essential services are going to continue and consular services are certainly considered essential,’ said a spokesman for the US Consulate in Sydney, Australia.

‘Consular operations include both visas and American citizen services at the US Embassy in Beijing, as well as US Consulates in Shenyang, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu will remain 100% operational,’ said a spokesman in China.

Applicants with scheduled visa interviews should attend appointment at the Embassy at the scheduled time and they will be seen, said the US embassy in Trinidad and Tobago. A spokesman added that new applicants should continue to register for appointments.

‘The Embassy of the United States, Seoul, Korea will continue its visa issuance operations. It will be business as usual for normal people,’ a spokesman in the country said.

‘Public consular services like visas will remain open and there is no problem in issuing visas, including tech visas, at this point of time,’ said a spokesman for the US consul general in Calcutta, India.

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