A preliminary report on the impact of the US Government shutdown on immigration, visa and related matters:
- Customs and Border Protection: The Department of Homeland Security has announced that the shutdown will not impact international departure and arrival operations at U.S. airports or at CBP’s “Pre-Clearance Facilities” in Canada. There may, however, be delays in processing passengers through immigration and customs, so consider arriving at airports earlier than normal for trips to or from Canada or to CCL destinations [this is true as well for passengers boarding domestic flights since TSA comes under the DHS.
- USCIS: The Department of Homeland Security has announced that the shutdown will not impact the processing of visa petitions or applications at USCIS installations across the US. Filing fees – not Congressional appropriations – pay for USCIS operations. So long as there are sufficient fees, this function should continue.
- US Consulates: The State Department has announced that the shutdown will not impact the processing of visa applications at US Consulates around the world. Filing fees – not Congressional appropriations – pay for Consular visa operations. So long as there are sufficient fees, this function should continue.
- Social Security Administration: While the Government announced that Social Security benefits would not be impacted, this does not apply to applications for Social Security Numbers. During the Shutdown, we have been informed that SSA will no longer accept applications for a Social Security Number.
At this point – 10 hours after the Federal Government shutdown went into effect – it should be business as usual with most of the US Government agencies that deal with immigration. The exception to this is the filing by a new employee for a Social Security Number.