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US shutdown may affect visas

world Updated: Apr 08, 2011 01:21 IST
HT Correspondent

If you have a US visa interview appointment coming up the next week or in 10 days, tune into the shutdown story playing out here. You might have to reschedule it if the federal government indeed shuts down as feared.

"What I can say at this point is that they're likely to be affected, but I can't give much more detail beyond that," said state department spokesman Mark Toner on Wednesday.

The state department has a contingency plan. "We will continue to provide services vital to national security of the United States, including providing emergency consular services to US citizens in need," Toner said.

Everything including and visa operations will be affected.

As every US federal department, the state department will have to send home most of its employees - branded non-essential - and run itself with essential staff, considerably lower than the normal floor strength.

The US federal government might actually shut down - for a few days to a week - if the Democrats led by President Barak Obama and Republicans are unable to pass the budget to keep the government running among other things.

They are unable to agree to the size of the budget. Or, rather, the size of the cut. The Republicans want a sizeable cut in the budget as proposed by Obama.

The Republicans control the House of Representative and the Democrats control both the White House and the Senate. All three - actually two - have to agree for the budget to pass and keep the government, and its wars, running.

But the two parties can't agree.

The Republicans want to cut Obama's budget proposals, by several billions. The Democrats are resigned to it, but want to cushion the reductions, not giving up completely.

The battle is about the size of the cuts, with your visa application thrown in.