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Does the Government Shut Down effect immigration officers?

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I am flying out Toronto, Canada next Sunday to FLL.  We go through US immigration at the Toronto Aiport.  I have read on another site that people are missing their flights due to slow US immigration procedure due to the Government shut down.

 

Has anybody had any problems?

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US Customs has been extraordinarily slow at YYZ for several months, not just during the government shutdown. It was nightmarish when I went through on a Sunday this past June. I arrived around 6:15 am. It took 2+ hours for security and US immigration. The line was hellish. I only saw 3 immigration officers. Our flight was held for 20-30 minutes because of all the passengers still in line. I've been through a different time since, on a weekday and my dd just went through on Christmas Eve, during the shutdown. Both times, we arrived around 5:15 am and had no problems. I recommend arriving at least 3 hours in advance.

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It might make it slightly slower, as they might have less staff but should not have much effect. Seems like pre-clearance there has been having issues for some time now. 

 

Get there early to be sure you are fine with timing. 

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2 hours ago, Flymia said:

It might make it slightly slower, as they might have less staff but should not have much effect. Seems like pre-clearance there has been having issues for some time now. 

 

Get there early to be sure you are fine with timing. 

I'd worry about agents doing the job to the letter of the law, taking extra time to do those inspections, looking a little longer at the documents, as ways to show their displeasure at not being paid.  They will miss their first paycheck on Jan 11.  

 

Also, I'd worry about passport control and customs when you debark your ship at the end of the cruise.  Someone reported that there were only 2 agents present at Port Canaveral when their ship docked last week (can't remember the ship, but it had thousands onboard).  

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TSA screeners started a "blue out" today, calling in sick.  Some are doing it out of protest of being forced to work without pay, some doing it because they have to care for their kids because they can't afford child care, some because they have to find another job that will pay them.   Union said that screening corners may have to be cut (less hand screening, allowing non-Pre Check approved people to use Pre Check, etc.) to keep wait times under 30 minutes.    With the time now out to "months, possibly a year, maybe to the election" for the shutdown (according to the outcome of today's talks), I'd look seriously at how long you may have to wait at an airport.  

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For those folks flying out of SFO, remember that you do NOT have TSA screening agents, as the airport has long opted out of using them.  Instead, they have private security screeners.

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We flew back into Washington DC Dulles (IAD) Wednesday and the lines didn't look terribly long.  However, we have Global Entry now (I think $100 for 5 years, which includes TSA pre-check) so didn't have to wait in them, so can't say for sure. Global Entry is great.  The two of us used a kiosk, took the print-outs to an immigration agent in the GE section, and were done in 10 minutes or less. 

 

As for TSA security scanning, we flew to Frankfurt from Dulles 2 weeks ago.  We have TSA pre-check, so the lines may have been faster for us than for many other folks, but there didn't appear to be any difference in the waits.  There is an app you can use to determine waits at many airports.  Waits do, of course, depend on when you go - AM, PM, weekday versus weekend, terminal, airport, etc.  

 

 

Edited by roothy123

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