Monday, September 30, 2013

How a 2013 Government Shutdown Might Affect Your Immigration Case

As happened only a couple of years ago, we are faced yet again in 2013 with the threat of a government shutdown. I am re-posting this article which was originally published in 2011 with some modifications.

Because the U.S. federal government may shut down, it's important to know how your immigration case may be affected.  

If you have a case pending before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) your adjustment or naturalization interview will most likely take place as scheduled.  The same would apply for naturalization ceremonies.  Because USCIS is funded primarily through application fees, it is expected that most of its services and centers will operate normally.  However, because USCIS works with other agencies to adjudicate pending cases, temporary delays should be expected. 

If you have a removal or deportation case pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, most likely only detained cases will go on as scheduled.  Non-detained master or individual hearings would be rescheduled. Also, the front window of the immigration court would be closed and the immigration court phones would not be answered. 

If you have a case pending before the National Visa Center, an agency within the U.S. Department of State, DOS would cease non-emergency visa services and non-US citizen services at U.S. Consular Posts abroad. As a result, no new visas are expected to be issued and visa application interviews would be rescheduled. Also, no passport applications will be accepted during a government shutdown.  

If you have a case pending before the U.S. Department of Labor, their offices will be closed.  This will delay the processing of PERM cases, as well as the processing of Labor Condition Applications for non-immigrant visas such as H-1Bs, E-3s, etc.  Also affected would be requests for Prevailing Wage Determinations with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Hopefully the government will not shut down as feared and the processing of all immigration-related cases will not be affected.