January 31, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 31


January 30, 2023

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Government Shutdown Immigration Impacts

How are immigration benefits impacted if Congress is unable to agree on a spending bill and the U.S. government shuts down? The general rule is that those services that are essential or fee-funded continue without interruption. The chart below illustrates by agency whether services are suspended:



Services Suspended?

US Citizenship & Immigration Services

Administers fee-based immigration benefits


US Customs & Border Protection

Controls admissions at US ports-of-entry


US Immigration & Customs Enforcement

Enforces immigration laws inside the US


US Department of State

Issues nonimmigrant and immigrant visas


US Department of Labor

Administers the H-1B Labor Condition Application and Application for Permanent Employment Certification program as well as the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals


Executive Office for Immigration Review

Adjudicates immigration cases

No, not for detained docket


DHS & SSA based system for employment verification


Student Exchange Visitor Program

Administers the Student and Exchange Visitor program


CIS Ombudsman

Helps resolve USCIS related issues and inquiries



From an immigration perspective, the greatest impacts of the government shut down are to the e-Verify program and any filings which contain a Department of Labor component (i.e., H-1B Labor Condition Applications, Prevailing Wage Determinations, and ETA-9089 Applications for Permanent Employment Certification).

e-Verify users are required to run checks on new employees within three (3) days of hire.  However, without access to the system, employers are unable to comply with program rules and may also find themselves at odds with state laws requiring use of the program.  To address the conundrum, the “three-day rule” is suspended for purposes of e-Verify submissions only (employers must still timely complete Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verifications).  Additionally, the time period during which employees may resolve Tentative Non-Confirmations (TNCs) is extended, with days the federal government is closed not counting towards the eight (8) federal government workdays the employee has to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  

Despite these concessions, employers will remain unable to:

  • Enroll in e-Verify;

  • Verify employment eligibility;

  • View or take action on any case;

  • Add, delete or edit company information;

  • Reset passwords;

  • Terminate an account; or

  • Run reports.

Employers should be mindful not to take any adverse action against an employee because of an unresolved TNC during this time.  Employers should also be prepared to promptly submit verifications and address TNCs when e-Verify comes back on line.  When specifying the reason for the delay in submission, employers should indicate “government shutdown” in the appropriate field.  

Copyright © 2023 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 274

About this Author

Jennifer Cory, Womble Carlyle Law Firm, Charlotte North Carolina, Immigration LawAttorney

Jennifer Cory leads Womble Carlyle Immigration Solutions, which provides management of inbound immigration services for domestic and international employers and investors. Jennifer has practiced immigration law since 1995 and is certified as a Specialist in Immigration Law by the North Carolina State Bar.

Jennifer’s work focuses on employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions, including, but not limited to, preparation of treaty investor/trader visa applications, H-1B temporary worker petitions and L-...

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