U.S. Federal Government Shutdown January 2019


How the U.S. Federal Government Shutdown May Affect Your Immigration Case


The U.S. federal government is currently shut down pending an agreement by Congress on a federal budget.  The following agencies are not funded and are subject to the government shutdown: 

  • U.S. Department of State processes passport and visa applications at consulates. For clients traveling internationally who were planning to renew a nonimmigrant visa while abroad, a shutdown could delay their return to the United States. Visa issuances and consular interviews may be suspended with only very limited (humanitarian emergency) exceptions. Although we have not yet seen an impact, visa appointments may be cancelled and seriously delayed in the future. American citizen services have continued overseas as an “essential” government function.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection and law enforcement officers are considered essential personnel and so ports of entry will remain open; however, the processing of applications filed at the border, such as TN applications, may be impacted.  For clients traveling internationally who have an unexpired visa, there will likely be no effect. It is possible that the current administration could try to limit the scope of CBP operations at airports during any shutdown, potentially making travel by nonimmigrant visitors and workers more difficult.
  • Other agencies: The Department of Homeland Security’s office of the USCIS Ombudsman will be closed and will not accept online inquiries.  ICE enforcement and removal operations will continue.

The following agencies are expected to experience minimal impact from the government shutdown:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, which is fee-based, will continue to receive and process visa petitions and other applications. 
  • U.S. Department of Labor, which processes Labor Condition Applications for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 cases, as well as prevailing wage requests and PERM applications, has had its full year funding authorized, so it will continue its operations.

We will keep you posted on the status of the government shutdown.  We will continue to prepare cases so that we can move forward with any filings held during the shutdown once it has ended.  If you have any questions about this news update and how it may affect your case, please do not hesitate to contact your Chin & Curtis attorney.