September 28, 2023

Federal Government Shutdown Would Affect Some Immigration Processing

With Congress deadlocked on passing needed budget legislation, it is looking increasingly likely that there will be a federal government shutdown at midnight on September 30, 2023. The shutdown will affect some federal agencies involved in immigration processes. It is impossible to know how long a shutdown would last. Historically, shutdowns have lasted from a few days to a few weeks.

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). DOL will stop processing all immigration-related cases. This will include LCAs associated with H-1B and other visa cases, PERM labor certifications, and prevailing wage requests.

E-Verify. The E-Verify electronic employment verification system will stop operating. However, in the event of a shutdown, E-Verify employers may continue to use the new alternate document review process for remote Form I-9 document verification. Employers must continue to complete Form I-9 even if they cannot complete E-Verify because of the shutdown.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS operations are generally fee-based, so USCIS would not be affected by a shutdown. USCIS should continue to process petitions and applications.

U.S. Department of State (DOS). Consular activities at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad are fee-based, so posts should continue to hold interviews and issue visas during a shutdown. There could be post-specific situations where a shortage of funds causes some curtailment of operations.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP activities at the borders and airports are considered essential functions, so they will continue operating during a shutdown. It is possible that CBP may not process some petitions or applications submitted in person.

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