How the Government Shutdown Can Impact Individuals Applying for Visas

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The New York Times reports that Donald Trump announced that he was considering shutting down the southern border until Congress voted to fund a wall along the border between Mexico and the U.S.

Democrats continue to stand behind their decision to not fund the wall and all reports indicate that we might be looking at a long government shutdown in the weeks ahead.

While Trump continues to make threats, the current shutdown is limited in scope.  USCIS will remain open during the partial government shutdown, as it is funded by user feesmeaning that immigration offices will continue to function as they normally would, and appointments will take place as scheduled, as will interviews. Visa applications will continue to be received and processed as well, as least through mid January, when reserve funding will run out of the Department of State.

However, there are a few programs that will be impacted by the government shutdown. And in general, if you are waiting for a visa to be approved, it might be wise to expect to encounter delays. Individuals cannot enroll in E-Verify, create a case, or take any action on their cases for E-Verify. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor program operations will also not run during the partial shutdown, so if you were planning on applying for an EB-5 or if you were awaiting a decision, you may have to wait longer. Immigrant visas for non-minister religious workers will also be suspended during the partial shutdown.

According to Vox, during a government shutdown, government officials are placed into two categories—essential and nonessential services. While the government shutdown won’t shut down all aspects of USCIS’s work (like the border or the processing of asylum seekers), individuals applying for visas should expect delays, especially when applying for work visas. While borders will remain open and officers will continue to show up to work, individuals seeking certain types of work visas may run into snags. The Department of Labor is fully funded for this fiscal year, through a prior appropriation, so PERMs and H-1B LCAs will continue to be processed. 

Refugees looking to resettle in the U.S. who are not currently in the U.S. may also need to wait to be resettled.

If you are in the process of applying for a visa or are about to apply, you may want to speak to your immigration attorney about what the government shutdown means for you. Kuck Baxter are immigration lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia who are closely watching how the shutdown will impact our clients. If you have questions, visit us at https://www.immigration.net/ to learn more.


Kuck Baxter Immigration Partners, L.L.C.
365 Northridge Road
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350

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Charles Kuck

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