As the clowns in Washington debate and argue over the federal budget, the potential for a government shutdown is becoming a real possibility. If no deal is struck by Friday, April 8, the government will shutdown by Saturday, April 9. However, many individuals have pending petitions with the USCIS and US Consulates abroad. If the government were to shutdown, how would this impact those pending petitions?
For petitions that are pending at the USCIS, the government shutdown will not affect them at all. The USCIS obtains its funding from the filing fees of the petitions it accepts. For this reason, a government shutdown will not impact the processing of fiancé visa petitions.
However, once those petitions are approved and are sent to the US Consulate abroad, the government shutdown will affect the processing of those petitions. Consulates are a part of the US Department of State. On April 7, 2011, the State Dept. published a guidance cable on its website that all embassies and consulates are to follow. The cable states, “Consular sections should cease the provision of routine consular services.” Therefore, pending petitions at consulates abroad will sit idle until Washington agrees on a budget.