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The most recent hiccup in the Trump administration is the government shutdown. A shutdown happens when the Senate doesn’t approve the budget. The last time it happened was in 2013 due to disagreements on Obamacare. The government shutdown impacts many government agencies and no work is done until the budget is approved.
All the essential services continue operations without interruptions. These agencies include US Border Security, Military, Justice, Hospitals etc. Some other agencies FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and National Parks and Museums will be closed with most of the employees furloughed during the shutdown.
Here is a list of all agencies that were impacted during the 2013 shutdown.
All immigrants and visa holders depend on the government to process applications. Many apply for new visas, visa transfers, and wait for decisions on their existing applications. The speed of processing is also important for many applicants as international students who are about to start school can’t be delayed. Some H-1B visa holders may be waiting for the transfer before they can switch jobs. Spouses of H-1B visa holders waiting for their H-4 approval before they can start working or F-1 approval to start school.
The most important thing to remember is that any agency that takes fees will not be impacted by the shutdown.
We will explain how this impacts the applications of visa holders.
Tourist Visa (B-1/B-2), F-1, and other visas filed in home countries: New applications will be accepted at consulates in other countries so government shutdown doesn’t impact visa applicants.
SSN (Social Security Number): As there are no charges to get a social security number, you will not be able to apply for it during the shutdown.
F-1 Visa: You will be able to apply for a new visa but there may be processing delays.
OPT Visa: Processed by USCIS and charges fees, so works as usual.
New H-1B, Transfers and Renewals (LCA): Department of Labor may not be available, so expect delays in new and existing applications processing.
Green Card Applications (PERM and I-140): Department of Labor may not be available, so expect delays in new and existing applications processing.
If you already have your visa then traveling to the U.S. should be as usual. The border agencies continue to operate as they are critical to the functioning of the U.S. government.
Visa holders and applicants may be nervous but the shutdowns usually don’t last long. The 2013 shutdown was only for approx 15 days. The existing administration is already working on finding a common ground on the budget.
Hopefully, this will be resolved soon.
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