Based on past government shutdowns, we should see business as usual for most immigration cases. Of course, we won’t know for certain until the immigration agencies officially announce their procedures. Here’s a short breakdown of what we can expect from some of the various immigration agencies, subject to further notice:
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts and processes visas, permanent residence, citizenship, and other immigration applications in the U.S. Because the USCIS is generally funded by application fees, and not tax dollars, it will continue operations, with the except of E-Verify.
- Department of State (DOS) visa and passport operations are usually funded by applications fees as well so a shut down should not affect these operations.
- Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is the court system responsible for removal (deportation) cases and should continue to operate because it is typically considered an essential function.
- Department of Labor (DOL) processes PERM labor certification applications required for many green card applications and labor condition applications (LCA) required for H-1B and other work visas. Unfortunately, in the event of a shutdown, the DOL would stop processing all applications, potentially causing a delay in applications for H-1B, work green cards, and other work visas.
We are monitoring the situation so expect further updates.