How the Government Shutdown Affects U.S. Travel

With the government shutting down last week, and the lack of clarity as to when it will resume, there are many travel-related questions that we felt the need to provide answers to. How will passports be handled? Can we still get visas? What will the airports be like?

  • Security: According to the, the TSA Transportation Security is, “Necessary for safety of life and protection of property.” They also mention that the TSA Federal Air Marshal Service will still be in effect.
  • Passports and Visas: These departments are still up and running, due to the fact that they’re funded by fees. Travel.State.Gov, said that “As of (Friday October 4, 2013), we are processing routine applications in an average of 4 weeks or less from the time of application.” We, however, recommend that you submit your application a week or two earlier than usual — just in case. Also, feel free to check the status of your passports.
  • Airports: It’s still an airport. So the security lines will still be a drag. USA Today reported that the lines may not initially be affected — initially. The typical recommended arrival time for a domestic flight is 75 minutes and 3 hours for an international flight. It is probably a good idea to go slightly earlier for to be on the safe side.
  • Border Control: The website states, “border patrol agents will remain on the job.” So you will still be able to drive and/or cruise in and out of the country (proper documentation required).
  • National Parks and Museums: Government run parks, libraries and monuments such as the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, the National Zoo (even the panda cam) are closed until the shutdown ends.

For more information and updates regarding the shutdown, visit, or check out USA Today’s 66 questions and answers about the government shutdown.

Featured Image: Washington, D.C., U.S. Capitol Building (

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