Department of State

Lapse in Federal Funding for Certain USCIS Operations

The current lapse in annual appropriated funding for the U.S. government does not affect USCIS’ fee-funded activities. Our offices will remain open, and all applicants should attend interviews and appointments as scheduled.

However, several USCIS programs will either expire or suspend operations, or be otherwise affected, until they receive appropriated funds or are reauthorized by Congress. These include:

  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program. Regional centers are a public or private economic unit in the United States that promote economic growth. USCIS designates regional centers for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program.
  • E-Verify. This free internet-based system allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
  • Conrad 30 J-1 doctors. This program allows J-1 doctors to apply for a waiver of the two-year residence requirement after completing the J-1 exchange visitor program. The expiration only affects the date by which the J-1 doctor must have entered the United States; it is not a shutdown of the Conrad 30 program entirely.
  • Non-minister religious workers. This special immigrant category allows non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations to immigrate or adjust status in the United States to perform religious work in a full-time, compensated position.

Generally, if the government shuts for budgetary reasons, all but "essential" personnel are furloughed and are not allowed to work.

  • January 21, 2018 Update: USCIS has confirmed that DACA renewal processing will continue.

DOS: Visa and passport operations are fee-funded 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.

CBP: 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.

ICE: 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 fees.

EOIR: EOIR's detained docket is typically considered an essential function and would therefore continue to operate. During the 2013 shutdown, EOIR continued to accept court filings, even in non-detained cases.

**DOL: The OFLC would cease processing all applications in the event of a government shutdown, and personnel would not be available to respond to e-mail or other inquiries. OFLC's web-based systems, iCERT and PERM, would be inaccessible, and BALCA dockets will be placed on hold. - This means no labor certification processing until the government shutdown is over.

CIS Ombudsman: The DHS Office of the CIS Ombudsman would close and would not accept any inquiries through its online case intake system.

Ninth Circuit Stays Travel Ban Injunction, with Exception for Individuals with “Bona Fide Relationship”

The Ninth Circuit issued an order staying the district court's 10/20/17 preliminary injunction against entry restrictions on nationals of six Muslim-majority countries, except as to foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. People with a qualifying family relationship include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. A qualifying relationship with an entity must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading Presidential Proclamation 9645. The district court did not enjoin the Presidential Proclamation's entry restrictions against nationals of North Korea and certain nationals of Venezuela, and the travel ban remains in effect for those countries as originally stated in Presidential Proclamation 9645

Court of Appeals Unanimously Upholds TRO

February 9, 2017 - U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has unanimously upheld the Temporary Restraining Order maintain the nationwide halt on Travel/Refugee Ban.

DOS Emergency Alert: Executive Order on Visas

As a result of the Executive Order on immigration, Department of State has temporarily stopped scheduling immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as well as cancelled currently scheduled visa appointments, for those individuals who are nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

This Executive Order does not restrict the travel of dual nationals from any country with a valid U.S. visa in a passport of an unrestricted country.  Embassies and Consulates around the world will continue to process visa applications and issue nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to otherwise eligible visa applicants who apply with a passport from an unrestricted country, even if they hold dual nationality from one of the seven restricted countries.

Executive Order on Immigration

What an extraordinary 72 hours it has been in immigration law and enforcement.  

ACLU led attorneys filed actions across the country to halt the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017. Resulting in a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York issuing the first order, granting a nationwide stay of removal preventing deportation for individuals with valid visas and approved refugee applications affected by the Executive Order. The next came a decision out of a federal court in Massachusetts - it barred federal officials from detaining or removing individuals subject to the Executive Order.  In a case filed in Virginia, the court ordered federal officials to provide lawyers access to "all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport" and barred officials from deporting covered individuals for the next seven days. In the case out of Washington State, the federal judge barred the federal government from deporting two unnamed individuals from the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security put out a statement early today stating only that the agency "will comply with judicial orders."

A copy of the Executive Order is provided in the link below.  

 

Travel Warning for Nationals of Certain Countries in Anticipation of Executive Order

An Executive Order titled “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM TERRORIST ATTACKS BY FOREIGN NATIONALS” relating to visa issuance, screening procedures, and refugees, will most likely be issued this week.

Among other provisions, if implemented as written, would "suspend" the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of nationals from certain designated countries for 30 days from the date of the order. Designated countries are tied to the Visa Waiver provisions of the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act and if implemented without change, would include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Additional countries could be included.

For those country nationals who might be affected by the Executive Order, it may be advisable to refrain from traveling outside of the United States if they are already present in the U.S., or try to return to the United States as soon as possible if they are outside of the country.

 

Visa Bulletin (September 2016)

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during September 2016 for: “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Visa Bulletin (August 2016)

This Bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers during August 2016 for: “Application Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Trump's And Sanders' Immigration Plans Would Shake The Biomedical World

First the big news. Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders actually agree. On what could they possibly agree? Both are are opposed to the current H-1B visa program and would like to see the minimum wage of the visa raised. Both have highlighted the impact of the current visa program on jobs for Americans. Much of the Presidential debate over the H-1B Visa has focused on how the visa affects the computer and information technology world. 

Visa Bulletin (May 2016)

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers during May 2016 for: “Application Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.