US Reiterates No Shutdown Effect on Visa Services in Delhi

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Washington, DC – The ongoing government shutdown in the United States will not affect visa processing, as these are fee-based services, according to US State Department officials.

Processing of visa applications was severely affected during the last US government shutdown in 1995-96, but Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson for the State Department, told journalists on Wednesday (Oct 2) that the US is still processing visas for foreign nationals.

Asked during the daily press briefing to comment on whether the New Delhi-based US embassy and other consulates were shutting down visa processing, Harf said, “No. So we’re still processing visas. Those are fee-based services. So we still have the funds through those fees to process things like visas around the world, and our embassies are still, of course, open around the world.”

Regarding the fee-based operations, Harf said, “These fees for visas and other things go to pay operational funding around the world. So obviously, that all falls in part under those obligations as well.”

Harf, however, sounded a word of caution, saying, “If other things start to be affected at embassies – I don’t know that they will – but again, each day we go longer, we’ll have to make difficult choices.”

“I think the longer this goes on, every day that the government is shut down, we have to take a look at the numbers and we have to take a hard look at competing priorities and our programs around the world. And every day that this goes on longer, there will be things we can’t do,” concluded Harf.

The US government began a shutdown effective Monday midnight after the US Congress failed to reach a consensus on the budget. Only essential services were running, with others suspended indefinitely.

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