As you may know, until congress passes a budget for the new fiscal year, the US government is in a state of partial shutdown effective today, October 1, 2013. Unfortunately, this shutdown means that some immigration services provided by the US government are temporarily suspended or delayed. According to the government agencies involved in immigration, we should expect the following immigration-related interruptions:
- The E-Verify employment eligibility verification system is unavailable during the government shutdown. Information about the impact to E-Verify is available at the E-Verify site.
- The US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has stated that all offices will remain open and in service, unless they are located within a federal building that will otherwise be closed due to the government shutdown. A list of all USCIS office closures is available here. If you are scheduled to attend an InfoPass, interview, or biometrics appointment during the shutdown, we recommend first checking this site to be sure that your office remains open. Assuming your office remains open, you should attend your scheduled appointment. If your office is closed on the date of your appointment, information about what to do is available here.
- Applications that are already filed with the USCIS should be processed according to normal procedures; however some processes may be delayed if USCIS is dependent upon other government agencies impacted by the shutdown in order to adjudicate a case. The USCIS will continue to accept new cases.
- The Department of State (DOS) will continue many normal operations at US consulates in foreign countries until funding runs out. As a result, foreign nationals traveling overseas may still be able to obtain visa stamps for a time, but should be prepared for delays that may make it difficult to return to the United States.
- The Department of Labor (DOL) plans to suspend access to its online filing portals as a result of the shutdown. As a result, it will not be possible to file new petitions and applications that are already pending presumably will not be processed until the government resumes operations. These actions will impact petitions that depend on DOL certifications in order to file, including H- 1B, H-2B and PERM labor certification petitions.
We will continue to monitor the impact of the government shutdown on immigration operations until services are fully restored.
Thank you for your continued confidence in Immigration Support Services.