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Dinsmore | Immigration
Oct 03, 2013

The Government Shutdown – Impact on Employment-Related Immigration

It’s October 1, 2013 – the first day of the government’s new fiscal year.  Unfortunately, many government offices have shut down due to lack of funding.  Why are we here?  In a nutshell, Congress was unable to pass a spending bill that would fund government operations in the new fiscal year.  During this time, only “essential services” will be provided, such as military operations, border patrol, air traffic controllers, and some food safety inspection.

For employment-based immigration cases, the following offices and/or government functions will be impacted until further notice:

U.S. Department of Labor

The DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has been designated as non-essential and its employees have been furloughed.  Both the iCert (for H-1B) and PERM Labor Certification websites have been taken offline.  No Labor Condition Applications (LCAs), Applications for Prevailing Wage Determinations, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification (H-2B), or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification (PERM cases) will be reviewed.  No new cases may be submitted through any of the OFLC websites.

There is no indication whether the U.S. Department of Labor will issue a grace period with respect to time sensitive filings including PERM audit responses, PERM Labor Certification cases nearing or at the 180-day deadline, or responses to supervised recruitment.  No U.S. Department of Labor employees will be available to respond to emails or calls for more information.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

USCIS is primarily self-funded through the fees that are collected during the filing process.  Therefore, most USCIS operations will remain in place although some delays in processing times are anticipated.

USCIS has previously allowed employers to file I-129 Petitions requesting H-1B, E-3, or H-1B1 status without certified Labor Condition Applications.  As of the date of this publication, USCIS has not released any details whether it will make an exception because of the government shutdown.


The E-Verify System is shutdown because it is federally funded.  While E-Verify is unavailable, you will not be able to access your E-Verify account for any functions.  All E-Verify Customer Support personnel are unavailable and all webinars, trainings, and community engagements are cancelled.

During the shutdown, the 'three-day rule' for E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the shutdown.  The time period during which employees may resolve Tentative Non-confirmations will be extended.  Days the federal government is closed will not count towards the eight federal government workdays the employee has to contact SSA or DHS.

Employers are reminded still to complete Form I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts work for pay.  Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of an E-Verify interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to a federal government shutdown. (Consult the E-Verify User Manual for more information on interim case statuses).

U.S. Department of State

DOS has some funding available and will continue as many normal operations as possible.  This includes visa processing/issuance at U.S. embassies and consulates outside of the United States.  DOS reports indicate that this branch’s operating status and available funding will need to be monitored continuously and closely in anticipation of a shutdown of functions.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

CBP inspection and law enforcement employees are considered "essential personnel," though staffing may be more limited than usual.  Airport clearance facilities, sea ports, and land borders will be open. However, CBP is unsure of how the shutdown will affect the processing of applications filed at the border such as applications for TN status under NAFTA or L-1 intracompany transferee petitions.  Lengthy delays may be possible at any CBP facilities.

Additional Impacted Offices

  • The Social Security Administration will remain open.  However the SSA will not accept or process requests for new Social Security Numbers or replacement cards.  The office will not be able to assist with E-Verify Tentative Non-confirmations during the shutdown.
  • The SAVE system will be shut-down.  Foreign nationals in some states may encounter difficulty in obtaining or extending driver’s licenses because the state motor vehicle licensing facilities will be unable to verify their statuses through the SAVE verification system.
  • The U.S. Passport Agency has limited funds available and will continue operations until further notice

If you have any additional questions about the shutdown’s impact on immigration cases or your foreign national employees, please contact your Dinsmore Immigration Team.


Greg Adams



Susan Allison



Katie Jacob



Beth Kaufman



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