The US Government shutdown at midnight Friday following the inability by the Republican and Democratic senators to reach a compromise on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme and build a wall along the Mexican border.
Congress also failed to reach an agreement to a limit on how much Congress could spend on military and domestic programmes in order to keep the government open.
A shutdown occurs when Congress and the President fail to sign into law 12 appropriation bills, which determine spending for specific government agencies, in order to continue providing funding for government operations.
With the situation, Federal Government employees would be forced to shut down nonessential services while essential staff at top level agencies will continue working but employees are not sure when they will get their salaries.
A government shutdown could last for days or weeks as long as it takes Congressional leaders from both parties to reach an agreement to fund the government, but not months.
A temporary spending bill was passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday night with 230 to 197, but a concurrent 60 votes were required in the Senate to advance a short-term spending bill to fund the government and avoid a shutdown.
However, Visa services remain operational at the U.S. Embassies and consulates, though the American centres functioning in a few cities will be closed because of the U.S. government shutdown.
“If you have a scheduled visa interview or American Citizen Services appointment, please arrive at the embassy at your designated time,” said the U.S. Embassy spokesperson on Sunday evening, confirming that services will “continue to function during the lapse in Congressional appropriations”.
The Trump administration, which marked one year in office, was paralysed from Friday midnight after the U.S. Senate failed to clear a funding Bill to finance the government, after a bitter standoff between Republicans and Democrats over immigration and spending could not be resolved in time.
Officials set a rest speculation that consular and visas services were also affected. Flights to and from the U.S. will also not be affected, but travellers may face longer visa processing time if the shutdown were to be prolonged. During the shutdown, essential U.S. federal services and military operations will continue, but thousands of workers will be suspended from government jobs, until the government is able to reach a deal with the Opposition.