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US shutdown could affect five EU states

Staff writer ▼ | October 2, 2013
As the US government began a partial shutdown, consular services could be affected, causing difficulties to nationals of five EU countries still subject to US visa requirements.
US visa
US visaAs the US government began a partial shutdown, consular services could be affected, causing difficulties to nationals of five EU countries still subject to US visa requirements.


Federal agencies were directed to cut back services after lawmakers could not break a political stalemate that sparked new questions about the ability of a deeply divided Congress to perform its most basic functions, reports EurActiv.

Some government offices and national parks will be shuttered, but spending for essential functions related to national security and public safety will continue, including pay for U.S. military troops.

The State Department could continue processing foreign applications for visas and U.S. applications for passports, since fees are collected to finance those services. Embassies and consulates overseas would continue to provide services to American citizens.

However, the State Department warned this week that consular operations at home and abroad would only remain open as long as "there are sufficient fees to support operations", NBC reported.

Between 20-30,000 applications for visas went unprocessed each of the 27 days the government was halted in the mid-90s, according to the Congressional Research Service. Nearly 200,000 U.S. applications for passports went unprocessed, causing millions of dollars in losses for U.S. tourism industries and airlines, according to the report.

Of the 28 EU member countries, the citizens of 23 do not need to acquire a US visa to visit the country, but are required to get an electronic authorisation. The citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Poland still require US visas.


 

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