Generally, if the government shuts for budgetary reasons, all but “essential” personnel are furloughed and are not allowed to work.
USCIS: USCIS is an agency funded by filing fees so it’s generally business as usual if the government shuts down. Exceptions are E-Verify; the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program; Conrad 30 J-1 doctors; and non-minister religious workers. DACA renewal processing should continue as well.
- Note: While USCIS has not yet confirmed how cases will be processed post-shutdown, in 2013, USCIS accepted late I-129 filings provided the petition was submitted with evidence that the primary reason for failing to timely file an extension of stay or change of status request was the government shutdown.
Department of State: Visa and passport operations are funded by filing fees and should not be impacted by a lapse in appropriations, but operating status and funding will need to be monitored closely. If visa operations are affected, consular posts will generally only handle diplomatic visas and “life or death” emergencies.
Customs and Border Protection: Inspection and law enforcement personnel are considered “essential.” Ports of entry will be open; however, processing of applications filed at the border may be impacted.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement: ICE enforcement and removal operations will continue, and ICE attorneys will typically focus on the detained docket during a shutdown. The ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) offices are unaffected since SEVP is funded by filing fees.
Immigration Court: EOIR Immigration court cases on the detained docket should proceed during the lapse in congressional appropriations while non-detained docket cases should be reset for a later date when funding resumes. Courts with detained dockets should receive all filings but only process those involving detained dockets. Courts with only non-detained dockets should not be open and will not accept filings. Check for court-specific instructions.