How does Government Shutdown affect J-1 visa and SSN applications?

American Visa (XL)

Background info

On Oct 1, 2013, the U.S. congress was not able to negotiate a Federal budget that keeps the U.S. government operating. The result is a Government “shutdown” which essentially means that non-essential government operations are temporarily halted. The last time the U.S. experienced a shutdown was in Dec 1995 and lasted 21 days.  It is unknown how long the current shutdown will last.

Impact on J-1 visa sponsors

Private program sponsors will continue to process J-1 visa applications. Sponsors will be able to continue using the government database (SEVIS) that administers J-1 visa programs. According the the Department of Homeland Security, “the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s (SEVP’s) offices will remain open. This continuation of operations is possible because SEVP is a fee-funded program and does not receive any government-appropriated funds”.

Impact on J-1 visa applications at U.S. consulates

While I have not seen any official communcation regarding visa processing at U.S. consulates, it is expected that U.S. consulates remain open and process visa applications. Visa operations are partly funded by application fees that are paid by the applicant; however, they are also partly funded by government appropriations. As a result visa processing could be affected if the shutdown continues for an extended period of time. Check with your local consulate for details.

Impact on applications for Social Security

According to the Social Security Administration, no applications for new or replacement cards will be processed. Remember that you do not need an SSN to start your J-1 program, but lack of a SSN could affect your ability to obtain a U.S. driver’s license or open a bank account. Check this website for updates: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/shutdown/

Please contact your J-1 visa program sponsor for additional information or questions.

3 Responses to “How does Government Shutdown affect J-1 visa and SSN applications?

  • That was very helpful. I am currently in the process of obtaining a J1- Visa. I hope
    that there will be no delays in visa processing at the US consulates.

  • Kerrianne
    4 years ago

    Thank you so much. I was just issued an I-515a the other day and my sponsor just sent off the documents, and I was so worried they weren’t processing them. If not done in 30 days, I would have had to leave. This have me a sigh of relief!