• Immigration Processing During the Holiday Season
  • February 19, 2015
  • 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 2015 should contact their immigration service provider to discuss the impact of holiday closures on their specific circumstances.

    Algeria

    The immigration authority will be closed January 1, 2015.

    Austria

    The immigration authority will be closed December 25-26, 2014 and January 1 and 6, 2015.

    Brazil

    The Ministry of Justice will be closed December 24-25, 2014 and January 1, 2015. The Ministry of Labor and the Federal Police in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and will be closed December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015 and open for half the day December 24 and 31, 2014. Ministry of Labor agencies in Sorocaba and Parada Inglesa will re-open in January 2015 and agencies located in São José dos Campos and Campinas plan to re-open in February 2015. Unofficially, many government offices slow down or work at half capacity in December and into the second week of January. Processing delays for applications submitted at the end of November and in December should therefore be expected. There continue to be long waits for Federal Police registration appointments for MERCOSUR and work visa holders in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro due to staff shortages and the influx of refugees.

    Colombia

    While the Immigration authority (UAEMC) does not close for the holidays besides December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015, several regulatory entities responsible for equivalencies and professional certifications close from December 16 through January 16. These include the CONALPE (Economics) and CPIP and CPIQ (Petroleum and Chemical Engineering, respectively).

    Croatia

    The immigration authority will be closed December 25-26, 2014 and January 1 and 6, 2015, with shorter hours likely on December 24, 2014 and January 5, 2015. Additionally, immigration authorities’ employees usually take annual leave around the holidays, so there may be general delays at that time.

    Cyprus

    The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 2014, will be open for half the day on December 31, 2014, and will be closed January 1 and 6, 2015.

    Czech Republic


    The immigration authorities will be closed December 24-26 and 31, 2014, and January 1-2, 2015. On December 23 and 30, 2014, the working hours will be 8am-12pm, only for those with appointments and urgent matters. Normal hours will resume on January 5, 2015.

    Denmark

    The immigration authorities will be closed December 24, 2014 - January 2, 2015.

    Ecuador

    Public offices will be closed December 25-26, 2014 and January 1-2, 2015.

    Estonia

    The immigration authorities will be closed December 24-26, 2014 and January 1, 2015. On December 23 and 31, 2014, the offices will close at 2pm.


    Finland

    The immigration authority will be closed December 25 and 26, 2014 and January 1 and 6, 2015.
    The normal hours of operation are 8am - 4pm.

    The case-specific telephone service line of the Finish Immigration Service will be closed December 18, 24-28, 2014, and January 1, 2015. On December 23 and 31, 2014, its hours of operation will be 9am - 4pm. The normal operating hours of that line are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am - 11 am. The general customer service line will be closed December 24-28, 2014, and January 1, 2015. Its hours of operation on December 23 and 31, 2014 will be 11:30am - 4pm.

    The New Delhi Finnish Embassy’s Visa/Permit section is closed December 24, 2014 - January 6, 2015, which will delay processing of applications and receipt of permit cards.

    France

    Immigration offices will be closed December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015. Many local offices will choose to close during this time, and many more will be short-staffed. Expect a general delay in the processing of applications between December 24, 2014 - January 2, 2015.

    Greece

    The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 2014, will close at 1pm on December 31, 2014, and will be closed January 1, 2 and 6, 2015.

    Iceland

    The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 31, 2014, and January 1, 2015. The normal hours of operation are 10am - 4pm.

    Israel

    Israeli consulates abroad have the option of closing or operating on a part-time schedule between December 23, 2014 and January 1, 2015. During the partial closures, applications may not be processed, and work permits or visas may not be issued, depending on the particular consular post. Therefore, backlogs and processing delays for work permits should be expected. Processing delays may continue after the holidays due to application backlogs resulting from the closures. Applicants and employers should contact the consulate at which they will apply for more information.

    Italy

    Public offices will not close officially, but will resume normal hours on January 12, 2015.

    Jersey

    The immigration authorities will be closed December 25-26, 2014, and January 1, 2015. The offices will close at 12:30pm on December 24 and 4pm on December 31, 2014.

    Latvia

    The immigration authorities will be closed December 24-26 and 31, 2014, and January 1 and 10, 2015.

    Lithuania

    The immigration authorities will be closed December 24-26, 2014.

    Malta

    The immigration authority will be closed December 24- 26 and 31, 2014 and January 1-2 and 5- 6, 2015.

    Norway

    The Foreign Service Center in Stavanger will be closed December 24, 2014 - January 1, 2015. The Norwegian Immigration Authorities will be closed December 24-26, 2014 and January 1, 2015.

    Peru


    Public offices will be open for a half day on December 19 and 30, 2014, and will be closed December 24-26, 31, 2014, and January 1-2, 2015. Public offices may announce additional closures at a later date.

    Philippines

    The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 30-31, 2014, and January 1-2, 2015.

    Poland

    The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 2014, and January 1 and 6, 2015. The office will be working with limited capacity between December 22-31, 2014 and January 2-5, 2015.

    Portugal

    The immigration authority will be closed December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015. Note that consulates abroad may be closed for Portuguese and local holidays.

    Slovenia

    The immigration authority will be closed December 25-26, 2014 and January 1, 2015. From December 25, 2014 - January 4, 2015, the office will work with a reduced workforce, therefore, delays should be expected.

    Slovakia

    The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 2014 and January 1 and 6, 2015.

    Sweden

    The Swedish Migration Board will be closed December 24 and 31, 2014, and January 1 and 6, 2015. The hours on January 2 and 5, 2015 will be 9am - 11am.

    Turkey

    The immigration authority will close early on December 31, 2014, and will be closed January 1, 2015.

    Ukraine

    The immigration authority will be closed January 1-2 and 7-9, 2015.

    Venezuela

    Public offices will be closed December 24-25 and 31, 2014 and January 1, 2015.