Longest U.S. Federal Shutdown in History
Hello, this is Anna, a part-time staffer at IMS.
I just wanted to post on the blog to provide a few updates regarding the currently ongoing partial government shutdown happening in the U.S. (for a previous blog post about the issue in Japanese, please see here.)
As of today (1/17/2019), the government has been shut down for a total of 27 days, the longest in American history. The funding for a border wall with Mexico still remains the cause of the shutdown, and as a result hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been furloughed without pay, and hundreds of thousands more face the struggles of a reduced staff without pay. These problems not only affect American resident but also those working at embassies, or just looking to travel through the US or apply for a visa.
We have been getting a few inquiries as to whether or not this will affect visa applications; the answer may depend on the timing of the case and which visa you may be applying for.
The Embassy website is running, but functions remain limited. As for visa consultations for entry to the U.S. that require an embassy appointment, the U.S. Embassy of Japan is currently still taking appointments and your case can still be processed (B visas, E visas, etc.).
However, for Student and Exchange Visitor visa applicants (F/M/J) who are required to pay a SEVIS fee in addition to the visa application fee, the following message has been issued via the Department of Homeland Security website: “Transactions submitted via this website might not be processed and we will not be able to respond to inquiries until after appropriations are enacted.” This has caused a delay in some of our cases, and will likely be backlogged for the duration of the shutdown.
For updates on the shutdown and how various functions are affected, please consider the following links.
Washington Post: “3 ways a U.S. government shutdown affects the rest of the world”
New York Times: “The Government Shutdown: Where Things Stand”