The partial federal government shutdown that began at 12:01 a.m.

on Saturday, December 22, 2018, continues unabated. Several

departments have issued related announcements about the specifics

of which immigration services have closed and which remain open,

summarized below in alphabetical order:

Department of Labor. DOL's announcement refers people to its

extensive contingency plan.

Department of Justice. DOJ released the following statement:

“Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice

websites will not be regularly updated. The Department's

essential law enforcement and national security functions will

continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice's

contingency plan for more information.” The contingency plan, dated September 2018

Department of State. DOS announced on December 22, 2018, that

scheduled passport and visa services in the United States and at

U.S. embassies and consulates overseas will continue “during

the lapse in appropriations as the situation permits.” The

agency said it will not update its website until full operations

resume, with the exception of urgent safety and security

information. The National Visa Center, National Passport

Information Center, and Kentucky Consular Center will still accept

telephone calls and inquiries from the public.

All passport agencies and centers and acceptance facilities

(such as U.S. post offices, libraries, and county clerk's

offices) are still accepting applications for U.S. passport books

and passport cards during the shutdown, and passports can be

renewed by mail, DOS said. Processing times remain the same: four

to six weeks for routine service and two to three weeks for

expedited service.

Those who have scheduled appointments at a DOS passport agency

or center should plan on keeping their appointments, the agency

said. Those who need to cancel their appointments at those places

may do so by calling 1-877-487-2778 or visiting the Online Passport Appointment System. Those who

have scheduled appointments at a passport acceptance facility and

need to cancel should contact the facility directly; click

here to search for a local facility.

The DOS passport notice

Executive Office for Immigration Review—immigration

courts. With respect to the operating status of immigration courts

during the shutdown, EOIR said that detained docket cases will

proceed as scheduled. Non-detained docket cases will be reset for a

later date after funding resumes. Immigration courts will issue an

updated notice of hearing to respondents or, if applicable,

respondents' representatives of record for each reset


The EOIR notice

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS said that the

shutdown does not affect USCIS's fee-funded activities. USCIS

offices remain open and all applicants should attend their

interviews and appointments as scheduled, the agency said. The

lapse in government appropriations does not affect Form I-9

Employment Eligibility Verification requirements. Employers must

still complete Form I-9 no later than the third business day after

an employee starts work for pay, and comply with all other I-9


The content of this article is intended to provide a general

guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought

about your specific circumstances.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top