Skip to main content

Attention, travelers: Your plans have changed

By Katia Hetter, CNN
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Tue October 1, 2013
<a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/22/travel/arches-summer-park/index.html'>Arches National Park</a> is one of 401 National Park Service sites to close to visitors during the government shutdown. Arches National Park is one of 401 National Park Service sites to close to visitors during the government shutdown.
HIDE CAPTION
Closed: Arches National Park
Closed: Yellowstone National Park
Closed: Statue of Liberty
Closed: Olympic National Park
Closed: Great Smoky Mountains park
Closed: Acadia National Park
Closed: Normandy American Cemetery
Operational: Airport security
Operational: Air traffic control
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • All 401 U.S. National Park Service sites are set to close
  • Essential air traffic and security measures will be maintained
  • Passports and visas should continue to be processed
  • Some passport approvals could be impacted if offices are located in certain offices

Are you affected by the shutdown? Got a message for Washington? Send it to iReport and be part of CNN's coverage.

(CNN) -- Planning to travel in or to the United States and wondering if the U.S. government shutdown will hit your plans?

Well, you may need to tweak some sight-seeing portions of your itinerary. Never mind that visit to the Statue of Liberty in New York City. Forget visiting Independence Hall in Philadelphia. And that hiking adventure at Yellowstone National Park? It won't happen.

Congress, wrangling over spending and Obamacare, failed to renew government funds in time for the start of the new fiscal year on Tuesday, and many travelers -- both domestic and international visitors -- will quickly start feeling the impact of the shutdown.

While rail networks, essential air security and traffic control operations won't be impeded, travelers visiting the country's national parks and other government-run tourist attractions will find the gates shuttered and the doors locked.

All 401 National Park Service sites, which collectively average about 715,000 visitors per day in October, will be closed, according to a park service spokeswoman. (Guests staying in campgrounds and on-site hotels will be given 48 hours to leave.) The Smithsonian's 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoo will also turn visitors away.

In addition to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, the shutdown bars tourists from two of the world's top destinations for aviation enthusiasts: the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Is it safe to fly?

Airport security personnel are considered essential, so travelers please continue to follow Transportation Security Administration rules about liquids, shoes and other restrictions at the airport.

Air traffic controllers, some safety inspectors and other essential employees will "continue working in order to maintain the safety of the national airspace system," said the Federal Aviation Administration, in an e-mailed statement. "Safety is our top priority."

Most immigration, border and customs employees are also considered essential personnel, which means passport controls at U.S. borders and points of entry like airports and cruise ports -- should be unaffected by the shutdown.

Other FAA projects, including facility security inspections, routine personnel security background investigations and development of the next generation of air traffic control technology, will be placed on hold.

What if you're waiting on a passport?

If you're waiting on a U.S. passport, how long that wait will last depends on where the passport agency is located. Passport services, because they are funded by other revenue, are generally "unaffected by a government shutdown," according to a State Department spokesperson.

There's just one possible catch: If the passport office is located within a government building that has been shut down, passport approvals may be affected.

If you need a visa

Because consular services at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world are largely funded by application fees, not annual appropriations, visa applications filed by foreigners wanting to enter the United States will continue to be processed, according to the State Department.

Overseas impact

Even those visitors trying to pay their respects at American military cemeteries located outside of the United States will feel the impact. The Normandy American Cemetery and 23 other overseas cemeteries operated by the American Battle Monuments Commission will be closed to the public for the duration of the shutdown, according to the commission's contingency plans.

"The Normandy American Cemetery presents a special case, as visitors have access to the cemetery via the unfenced approaches from the beach, according to the plan. "Visitors will be asked to leave, but confrontation will be avoided."

CNN's Laura Koran and Thom Patterson contributed to this story.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:48 AM EDT, Fri October 18, 2013
After all the bickering and grandstanding, the billions lost and trust squandered, it was much ado about nothing
updated 1:31 PM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
The government is open. The debt limit is lifted. The fight is over.
updated 12:51 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Weeks of bitter political fighting gave way to a frenzied night as Congress passed the bill that would prevent the country from crashing into the debt ceiling.
updated 11:30 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
The U.S. government looked perilously close to hitting its debt ceiling. Here are the stories you missed during the shutdown.
updated 10:16 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Even before President Barack Obama signed the deal into law, Yosemite National Park fired off a statement: We're open for business, right now.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
It took more than two weeks, but Congress finally reached a shutdown-ending, debt ceiling-raising deal that satisfies both sides of the aisle.
updated 7:14 PM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
So much for a "clean" bill. The measure passed by Congress to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling also contains some goodies and gifts tucked into the 35-page bill.
updated 10:40 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
OK, so Congress passed a bill, the President signed it into law and the government's finally back in business.
updated 11:17 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
It began with high hopes and lofty rhetoric, as a newly reelected President Barack Obama ended his State of the Union wish list with a call to action.
updated 11:26 AM EDT, Fri October 18, 2013
The shutdown is over after 16 days, but the things we missed while the government was closed are still fresh in our minds. Here are nine things we're thrilled to have back.
updated 6:27 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Long before the ink had dried on the Senate deal, the writing was already on the wall for the Republican Party: The last three weeks have hurt them.
updated 11:21 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Only 61 people in the history of the United States have held the position. It's the second most powerful in the country and second in line to the presidency.
updated 9:27 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Congressional approval ratings hovered at historic lows. Republican and Democrats hurled insults at each other and among themselves. The political circus in Washington even made its way to "Saturday Night Live: -- in a sketch featuring Miley Cyrus, at that.
updated 5:02 PM EDT, Mon September 23, 2013
Many government services and agencies were closed at the end of 1995 and beginning of 1996 as President Bill Clinton battled a GOP-led Congress over spending levels.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT