Published January 10, 2019

As our nation is headed toward the longest government shutdown in our history, many of the players impacted, including companies petitioning foreign workers as well as individuals in all our immigrant communities, are asking questions about how the shutdown impacts immigration system related processing.  Can I obtain a U.S. passport?    Is my Green Card application interview in the U.S. still going to be conducted?  Can I still apply for a visa at a U.S. consular post abroad?  These and other questions are answered below – and with the answer usually dependent on whether the applicant is paying a fee for an immigration related service.  In sum, if an applicant is paying a processing fee, chances are that the government shutdown will not impact the case.

Can I obtain a U.S. passport?

During the shutdown, the U.S. Department of State continues to accept and process U.S. passport applications, both in the U.S. and abroad.  

Will green card or citizenship interviews still be scheduled and conducted at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS) local office during the shutdown?

Yes, US CIS operations for processing of green cards (permanent residence) and naturalization will continue uninterrupted, including case acceptance, review as well as the scheduling and conducting of interviews.

Will visa interviews abroad at U.S. consular posts still be scheduled and conducted?

Yes.  Just like other fee based processes, visa processing and interviews continue without interruption.

I am in removal proceedings, do I still need to attend a scheduled court date?

If the foreign national is held in detention by Immigration Customs and Enforcement, then yes, court proceedings will go on as planned and are not interrupted by the shutdown.  HOWEVER, if the foreign national is not detained (released from custody, or never was in custody), removal proceedings will be postponed and court dates for non-detained individuals will be rescheduled.

Department of Labor:  For immigration related cases involving the U.S. Department of Labor, applicants can count on business as usual as funding for operations had already been allocated before the shutdown.

CBP, ICE:  As to essential operations being carried out by U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP – including officials carrying inspections at airports and land ports of entry), the public can expect business as usual during the shutdown.


PUBLISHED January 10, 2019– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2019, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois