USCIS is OPEN in Government Shutdown. Hence the answer to will USCIS be affected by the shutdown is No.
USCIS has most of its services funded by the fees that they charge from applicants. Hence, the government shutdown does not affect them.
USCIS premium processing including RFE cases is also processed.
This article will discuss:
File H1B, i485 Visa in Govt Shutdown?
USCIS will work on your H1B, H4-EAD, L visa petitions, as its immigration officers and consultants do work even in a government shutdown.
You can file H1B extensions, Amendments, transfers, and Changes of Status including new Green card applications.
The Green card interviews and RFE (Request for evidence) cases will also be worked on, like a normal workday.
All USCIS service centers like Nebraska, California, Texas, Vermont, and Potomac stay open and process applications, un-affected by the government shutdown.
PERM, LCA are Affected
PERM and LCA are processed by DOL (Department of labor) and are affected by government shutdown.
Unlike USCIS, DOL is funded by government and hence will stop its operations until the shutdown is over.
H1B LCAs might be delayed and PERM approvals may see extra processing time.
Specific US embassy may or may not work during the shutdown. Each individual US embassy maintains a buffer to keep their services moving even in the federal govt. shutdown.
If the specific US embassy like the Delhi US consulate, does not have sufficient funds to keep them going, they will inform this on their website specifically.
If open, the US embassy also takes interviews as scheduled in foreign locations like India, China, and consular processing happens for H1B and other visas.
The government shutdown, normally, is resolved within days, and hence, no operations are affected. In the last government shutdown, all US embassies were open.
You should check with the specific US embassy that you plan to visit and see if they are closed or open during the government shutdown.
My fingerprint appointment is scheduled with USCIS. Should I go?
USCIS offices remain open and take fingerprints and interviews as scheduled during the government shutdown.
They have in-fact urged people to go to USCIS for their interviews and appointments, as usual, in an official tweet in past:
Which Services are Stopped?
The only services that USCIS officially will suspend until the government shutdown is stopped are:
- EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program
- 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