• Government Holiday Closures May Delay Work Permit, Visa Application Processing
  • December 13, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • During the holiday season, many government offices worldwide will close or have reduced staff and hours of operation, likely resulting in processing delays for work permits, residence permits and visas over the coming weeks and into the new year.

    The following is a non-exhaustive list of immigration office and government closings during the holiday season. Employers and foreign nationals with travel or relocation plans between now and early 2014 should contact their immigration service provider to discuss the impact of holiday closures on their specific circumstances.

    AFRICA

    Government offices in most Sub-Saharan African countries will work at half capacity or close entirely from December 16 through January 13, resulting in application processing delays well into the new year.

    ASIA PACIFIC

    Applications will typically take longer to process, from a few days to a few weeks, due to public holidays and reduced staff throughout the holiday season.

    Australia: The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will be closed on December 25 and 26 and on January 1.

    China: The country’s main holiday period will be Chinese New Year, from January 20 through February 5.

    Hong Kong: The Immigration Department will be closed on December 25 and 26 and on January 1.

    India: Government offices will be closed on December 25 and January 14. Consular posts may close for longer periods depending on the national practice for their location.

    Japan: Government offices will be closed on December 23 and from December 28 through January 3.

    Malaysia: The immigration agency will be closed on December 25 and on January 1, 14, 17 and 31.

    New Zealand: The immigration agency will be closed from December 24 through January 2.

    Philippines: Government offices will be closed on December 24, 25, 30 and 31 and on January 1.

    Singapore: The Ministry of Manpower and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority will be closed on December 25 and January 1.

    South Korea: The immigration agency will be closed on December 25 and January 1.

    Thailand: Government offices will be closed on December 30 and January 1.

    EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST

    Immigration agencies in most countries in the region will officially close from December 24 through 26 and on January 1, and some will also close on January 6. However, many government offices in the region also work at limited capacity during the last week of December and into the first week of January. Countries with expected closures of longer duration are listed below.

    Austria: A processing delay of three weeks is expected, as government offices will operate with significantly reduced staff between December 24 and January 6.

    Denmark: The immigration agency will be closed from December 24 through January 2.

    France: Government offices are generally closed or half-staffed between December 25 and January 1, and the level of staffing varies by region. Delays should be expected.

    Germany: No regular appointments to apply for work and residence permits will be available from December 23 through January 6. Only emergency appointments will be offered during this period.

    Italy: Immigration processing will be delayed from December 20 through January 10 due to significantly reduced staff.

    Hungary: Government offices will cease accepting applications from December 20 through January 6.

    Luxembourg: The immigration agency will move the week of December 16 and operate with a reduced staff from December 23 through January 3.

    Norway: The immigration agency will be closed from December 23 through January 3.

    Russia: Government offices will be closed from December 30 through January 9, though the closure could extend two or three days longer.

    Spain: Government offices will be closed on December 24, 25, 26 and 31 and on January 1 and 6.

    Sweden: The Swedish Migration Board will be closed on December 24, 25, 26 and 31 and on January 1, 2 and 6.

    Switzerland: Most cantonal authorities will be closed from December 25 through January 2.

    LATIN AMERICA

    Most countries’ immigration offices will be officially closed on December 24, 25 and 31, and on January 1 and 6. Unofficially, many Latin American government offices slow down or work at half capacity during the month of December and into the second week of January.

    Argentina: The Immigration office will be closed on December 25 and January 1 and will work until noon on December 24 and 31.

    Brazil: Though closures have yet to be announced, government offices are expected to be closed on December 25 and January 1 and open for half the day on December 24 and 31.

    Chile: The Immigration office will be closed on December 24, 25 and 31 and on January 1.

    Costa Rica: Immigration office closures have yet to be announced, but the Costa Rican government will be closed from December 23 through January 6.

    Ecuador: Government offices will be closed on December 25, 30 and 31 and on January 1.

    Mexico: Office closures have yet to be announced, but the National Immigration Institute is expected to follow the practice of previous years and be closed from December 19 through January 7.

    Peru: Government offices will be closed on December 25, 30 and 31 and on January 1. Immigration appointments will be available on a limited basis on December 24, 26 and 27.

    NORTH AMERICA

    Canada: Government offices will be closed on December 25 and 26 and on January 1.