Immigration Programs During the Federal Shutdown

During the Federal Government Shutdown, knowing what is and isn’t open is always difficult to find. Gerald LeMelle, the DBL Immigration Team Lead Attorney, has been fielding questions and has put together a quick reference guide for people or companies that use Immigration systems or facilities.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will still operate, including its following agencies: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

However, the following immigration programs will remain shut down until an agreement on the budget can be reached:

  • E-Verify for Employers
  • Conrad 30 – J Waivers for Physicians
  • Non-Minister Religious Worker Green Cards
  • EB-5 Regional Centers for Investors

Immigration Courts are closed during the government shutdown with the exception of urgent deportation cases. If your case is scheduled for a hearing during the government shut-down, it will be postponed.

The USCIS Ombudsman’s Office has closed and will not accept any inquiries through its online case intake system.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will continue to process PERM applications, Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) and issue Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWDs). DOL through September 30, 2019.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) will continue to issue nonimmigrant and immigrant visas as well as U.S. passports as long as possible given its limited funding.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will continue to issue social security numbers and cards as well as replacement cards.

Can I still file a petition for immigrant status?

Yes. Immigration petitions can still be filed at any time. USCIS offices are open throughout the government shutdown. According to a statement by USCIS, “fee-for-service activities performed by USCIS are not affected by a lapse in annually appropriated funding.”  Since immigrants applying for benefits pay fees for their applications, immigration offices are able to stay open during the shutdown.

You must comply with all local immigration court orders and BIA filing deadlines during the shutdown.

What if I have a petition that is already filed?

Your petition will continue to move forward despite the government shut-down. Filed petitions will not be abandoned during this time.

My fingerprint appointment is scheduled for this week.  Should I go?

Yes.  USCIS offices including biometric processing centers are open during the shutdown.  If you do not go to your fingerprint appointment your case could be delayed.

Will my scheduled interview still happen?

Yes. If you have a scheduled interview, your interview will go forward. According to a USCIS statement, “all USCIS offices worldwide are open for interviews and appointments as scheduled.”

If you would like to speak to our Client Services team and ask for a free consultation or to have immigration questions answered, please contact Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig at 571-388-2345 or



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Posted in: Immigration

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