US Government Shutdown H1B Visa, USCIS, DOL, Green Card, Impact 2013 ? Visa Stamping?

In US Immigration - Visas by KumarUpdated : 84 Comments

Today is the start day for new H1B Visa FY 2014 holders in their new work visa status in US…Many of you, who have not arrived yet are planning to come to America very soon….at this juncture, if you are following some of the US news, you might have heard that US government is going to shut down. There might be many concerns for all the current H1B Visa holders in the US or the remaining holders, who plan to arrive in the US soon…. In this article, I will try to summarize what it means to H1B Visa holders, USCIS processing, Department of Labor processing, Consular processing, Visa stamping, etc.

Why is US Government Shutdown ?  

Imagine you have a business, to run your business, you need to pay the bills like rent, electricity, internet, employee wages, etc. If you do NOT pay the bills, all your service providers will disconnect their services, you will have to move out, your internet won’t work, your employees will leave, etc. Similarly, imagine that “US government” is a business and for it to function, US Govt. have to pay bills for all the services. Senate approves the budget (money) to pay these bills that are incurred by the US Govt. If senate does not approve the budget, there is no cash, hence the services of the US Gov. will not function, because there is no money to pay for the services. Due to the Obama Healthcare law, there is a point of conflict in the overall budget plan between democrats and republicans and the budget plan for this fiscal year is not passed by the Senate (The US Govt, fiscal year starts from October 1st and ends by September 30th), and there is no money to pay for the bills incurred by the US Govt. Hence, the American govt. is shutdown.

What happens when the US Government shutdown happens ?

Essentially, the Government offices in US will not function. Only the essential and mandatory services offered by US Gov. will function. This will include things like border security, military, social security, health care, mail, etc.

How does the US Government shutdown impact Internationals on a Visa or planning for Visa ?

We will cover various aspects of the impact in separate section by topic below.

New H1B Visa Holders in USA :  You will NOT be able to apply for a Social Security Number. It means that your employer may not be willing to start you work without SSN, even though technically you can start working.  Also, if you have a new job and the client needs your SSN, you cannot give them the same for background verification. Read official statement on Social Security Admin website on services during Gov. Shutdown

H1B Holders in home country with Visa, planning to travel to USA :  New H1B visa holders can arrive in the US. The port of entry is considered an essential service to protect the country, so you can enter America and CBP will function normally. Air traffic controllers will work, so will the airports. You are good to travel. Check the statement on : Official CBP website on Gov. Shutdown  

H1B, F1, B1, B2, etc. Visa applicants, applying for Visa stamping at US Consulate :  The US Consulate general or Consular offices globally in different countries will function normally. They will be using the reserve funds allocated to them. The US Department of state website says that many of the consular offices have funds reserved for at least one year and then some expire.  Having said that, some of the services, where other departments need to collaborate will not be fully available. It may impact some of the administrative processing cases, depending on the type of issue.  Read the official State Dept. statement on US Gov Shutdown

H1B Transfers, Extensions, Green Card ( PERM) Applications tied with US Dept of Labor  : All the services offered by US Department of Labor will not be available during the US Govt Shutdown.  It means that you cannot apply for Labor Condition Applications ( LCA), that are required for H1B Visa transfers or extensions. The PERM or Green Card applications will not be processed during this period. Also, the audits typically conducted by Dept. of labor will not be carried. It impacts a lot of the H1B Visa holders and Green card applicants. Read full information on US Dept of Labor Shutdown Page

USCIS services for H1B petitioners, L1 visa petitioners, COS, F1 Visa OPT, etc. : USCIS will function normally for the most part, except when dependent on other departments, as they provide services based on the fees collected from applicants and it is part of the essential services.  USCIS will process all the H1B Visa applications, L1 Visa applications, Change of Status ( COS) requests, etc.  The big catch is that, wherever there is a dependency on other Gov. Agencies like Dept. of Labor or similar agencies, there will be impact on the processing times due to the dependency.  All the US citizen naturalization ceremonies will function normally. The E-Verify portal will NOT work, it could impact F1 Students, who plan to work on OPT, because New employers cannot get e-Verified during this shutdown and most of the employer services will not be available.  Read E-Verify Official Shutdown info

H1B Visa, L1 visa Job holders working in US private Companies:  The US Govt Shutdown does not impact any H1B Visa or L1 Visa holders, who are currently working for US private companies.  You should be able to work normally without any issues and get paid normally.

Summary – Plan Accordingly for US Govt Shutdown  :

The US Gov. Shutdown does not happen every year, it has happened after 17 years. It is a rare unfortunate situation where there is a stalemate in the political opinion impacting us. It may or may not last long…The previous shutdown was for about 21 days…Just be cognizant of the fact that as Internationals it impacts you in a variety of ways and you do not want to be in trouble arriving in a foreign country with these complications.  Just plan yourself, it will be fine.

You may also read  US Government Shutdown impact on Current and prospective F1 students, I-20, CPT, OPT

What are your thoughts on the US Government shutdown ?

How does it impact you ?

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Comments ( 84 )

  1. Question GC


    can anyone answer about this ?

    I am not working in USA , if company wants to provide employment with GREEN card ! should I have experience in USA ?

    I am bachelor degree holder have skilled experience

    this is from uscis

    Green Card through a Job Offer

    If you want to apply for a green card (permanent residence) based on the fact that you have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, or if you are an employer that wants to sponsor someone for a green card based on permanent employment in the United States, you must go through the following processes.

  2. Nishant

    I am working for TCS on H1B permanent employee came to onsite through TCS 2 yrs back.
    My H1B visa expired on SEP 2013
    I have extended/approved petition till Jan 2015 for location L1 / client C1.

    I was in location L1 / client C1 from Feb 2012 till Dec 2013
    Right now I am working in location L2 / client C2 for past 1 month from Jan 01 2014 till 31st jan 2014.
    Now due to some reasons I am changing my project probably to Location L3 / new client C3. And I hav som travel plan to attend relatives marriage on 22Feb 2014 back in India.

    Now say TCS is filing LCA for this new location/client-L3/C3.
    And in the meantime suppose I am still awaiting my new LCA but I want to travel INDIA to attend my relative’s marriage. Can I do so. Can I get LCA by email in India, take a print of new LCA and appear for Stamping and come back to US.

    Or Do I hav 2 wait here in US itself until I get my new LCA done and report to my new client office and then only I can go bak 2 India legally for attending stamping interview bak in India.

  3. User

    How to buy a H1-B for cheap during a government shutdown? A consultant told me that the price has gone up because there is a shortage of visas since the government is shut down? What is the regular price? Someone please help me – I want to settle in US.

  4. IV T

    Is there a deadline to start work to maintain H1b status?

    I am unable to attain an SSN because of the government shutdown and hence my employer is not allowing me to start work

  5. Meenakshi

    On October 8, 2013, we mailed you a denial decision notice for this case I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER. The notice explains why the denial decision was made and the options that may be available to you. If you have not received this notice within 15 days of October 8, 2013, please call customer service at 1-800-375-5283 for further assistance

      1. CD

        The attorney can have a look at it and if it is a genuine case but has received a denial he or she can apply for a MTR . I think it stands for Motion to Reconsider.
        Check with your attorney and employer.

    1. h1btransfer

      Hi Meenakshi,
      That’s scary, anything doubtful that might result into this ? Is it fulltime or contract ? Is it a H1b transfer case ? Is it EVC model ? Was your LCA approved ? When did you file ? When was the receipt notice received ? did you do premium processing ? When was the LCA filed and received ? Please give some details ?

      1. Meenakshi

        HI h1btransfer

        thanks for response.
        Is it fulltime or contract ?
        yes it is Fulltime
        Is it a H1b transfer case ?
        No this is not transfer case
        Is it EVC model ? Was your LCA approved ?
        Yes mY LCA was approved
        When did you file ?
        In April i filed it
        When was the receipt notice received ?
        In July I receipt notice
        did you do premium processing ?
        No it was Not premium processing
        When was the LCA filed and received ? Please give some details ?

        can you tell me is still I have some option .. It will be great help for me

  6. Guest

    Hi Saurabh,
    I have applied for h1 with UScis for 2 times .Both the times , i had my resume showing the start date of my first project (career)as feb 2007 by mistake.However my actual start date was oct 2006.I also have the employer letters to verify that .The employer letters were submitted both the times.I am now abt to file my h1 extn for the 2nd time(3rd time h1).Will it be a problem , if i correct my resume now to show the start of my career as oct 2006 instead of feb 2007.Mine is a genuine case.Please help.Thank you.

  7. Shyam


    I have applied for H1b extension 3 months back. And now my I-94 already expired. Still it is showing initial review. Will this govt shutdown affect my extension? Any ideas?

  8. RHRU


    My cousin’s H1B visa and I 94 is expiring on Oct 27th of this month. His employer has initiated LCA posting and is submitted to DOL on Sept 27th. Till date the LCA approval has not been received as the DOL is shutdown.

    Can his employer file H1b Extension without LCA or with the current Pending LCA Application?

    Does he get any grace period after his I-94 expiration date? If this is not possible, he might have to go back to India by 27th of october. In case if the DOL sends the LCA approval notice on Oct 28th and My cousin is already out of status. Can the extension be still filed? and he can visit US embassy in India and again comeback after he gets the stamping?

    Or is it something like he has to wait for applying a new H1B visa for April 2014 qouta and attend the visa interview in Oct 2014? Please let us know how it works?

    My cousin didnot write GRE/Toefel and can he join any course and quickly convert to F1 status? What are the possible options for him to stay in United States?


    1. h1btransfer

      My attorney is saying, it is okay to file H1b transfer / extension with Pending LCA and when RFE comes, he can provide approved LCA. They have a reason that DOL is shutdown. I am still scared of the fact, that USCIS has not officially announced to receive H1b petitions without certified LCA. I am also thinking to call 800-357-2099 option 4 – 1 – 0 to ask if they are accepting pending LCA’s ?

      1. vinay

        Any progress on your case? Did you apply for H1B without LCA as your attorney had said. If any progress then kindly update. Thanks.

  9. Manoj

    Hi all,
    Please help me ..

    I got my H1B and planning to travel by last week of October.

    I have SSN, Have to search the job after coming to USA.

    Is it a good time to come there or not.

    USA shutdown and debt ceiling will have any real impact on jobs?

  10. bad luck hi kharab hai!

    I am on h4 for last 4 years! Finally after through job search, torturous ‘winning the lottery – waiting period’ and now ‘ THE SHUTDOWN’! I was suppose to apply for SSN on 1st oct. My employer says I cannot start working until I get SSN and there is no alternative to background check .
    I cant believe my luck…
    Anyone in the same boat?

    1. Vermont center shutdown???

      Even i am in the same situation with only difference my H1b in PP got stuck. clock stopped. 13 days over . no result. Ohh!! so there is one more hindrance of SSN number in jobs coz of US shutdown. wow!! seriously i am unlucky. Now no need to cry for visa i will get stuck in SSN …so no job!!!

      1. H1B

        Have you got any update on your status. I am in same situation. MY PP clock stopped on 8th Oct and till now no results from USCIS. Its H4 to H1

  11. Amit K

    Hi Kumar,

    I have h1b petition approved for this year, I am about to schedule my visa interview, will this US shutdown will impact any rejection chances oh my h1b visa interview ? Or Should I wait till shutdown will get close? I am in India and will be going to US consulate in India.


  12. Sharath


    My visa expired on 3oth sep 2013, and applied for extension in th month of june, those who have applied a week earlier their visa got approved, mine still pending. Will this shutdown affect my approval time?

  13. Sandeep


    My H1 Visa is expiring on Dec 31st 2013, I am visiting india in November and coming back on Dec 1st 2013. I had applied for H1-b Extension and it got approved but the start date in I797-A is January 7th 2014. I am planning to go for Visa Stamping when I visit india. when I go for visa stamping will they cancel my current visa and will give new visa with start date of whenever I went for visa stamping? or will they give start date as my extension approval date which is jan 7th? is there any way to correct the dates on I797-A If I don’t go for Visa stamping can I come back on Dec 1st using current visa which is expiring on dec 31st and the extension approval letter which start date is jan 7th 2014. Will there be an issue at port of entry? will they ask me what will i do for these 6days..i.e, from jan 1 to jan 6th?

    1. Marcel

      well sandeep it wont be a problem even without stamping extended.Since your visa is till dec 31 and you are coming back on december 1st 2013 you wont have problems entering usa.You can go for stamping in india.Even if they reject your visa stamping for the visa extension which starts on january 7 2014 you will not have any problem entering united states since you have previous visa stamping till December 31 2013.Hope this helps.

        1. administrator

          Then the attorney should follow-up w/ USCIS to get it corrected. It is still 2-3 months out and you have time to get it corrected.

  14. Roshan K Suresh

    I am in US and my visa petition expires on Nov 4th. My extension has not been filed as of now and due to Federal shutdown my attorney can’t apply LCA. Please let me know if I am left wit any options it apply my petition? How long can I work or stay in US without a valid petition/I94? I am confused and worried. Please advise.


    1. Vermont center shutdown???

      You will in good state if your extension is filed before your I-94 expires. So hope US shutdown don’t last that long. Otherwise you have to go back. You can’t stay in US if your I-94 expires and your H1b extension is not filed. After filing you can stay 240 days max. without any decision. If no decision comes then same rule apply…go back get the stamping if approved and then reenter.

      1. Roshan

        Can a I539 be filed in my case to extend my stay beyond my I94 date till my H1 is filed and I get my receipt of the H1 extension?

  15. Waiting for H1b

    Hi Bro,
    Currently my H1b petition is in RFE, requested for Statement of work and Offer letter. And we just mailed it. Question is, will this shut down impact my processings ???

    Please let me know.

  16. Vicky


    My travel date is 5 Oct and expecting new location LCA by 4th Oct.
    In case I don’t receive it by 4th due USA government shutdown…then what option do I have?

    Should I still travel without LCA or is there any alternative for LCA in this situation of DOL shutdown?

    Can i use already approved LCA of other location to travel there and then to my original location?

    Please reply

    1. administrator

      Vicky, LCA is required for you to work at any location. Talk to your attorney, he would be the best person to advise.

      1. Vicky

        Thanks Kumar.

        I have approved LCA for location A.So can I enter in USA to location A using approved LCA …then once I got LCA for location B LCA …I will move there?

        Please reply

    2. Maran

      Since you already have an LCA, you can travel with it.
      However, since that LCA location will be diff. from actual work location, you cannot work in the New Location for more than 15 days continuously.

      That is, once in 15 days you would have to travel to LCA location and report to some manager, if your company/client have ofc in both locations.

      1. Vicky

        Hi Maran

        Even if I get LCA for actual work location?
        My Employer has approved LCA of Atlanta(Which is not issued for me), So can travel to Atlanta?

        1. Maran

          1. Once you get the LCA for new location, then you can be based out of there continously. In the mean time (u get new LCA), this is a work around.
          2. LCA location: Atlanta. LCA beneficiary: YOU (& more). Work Location: Atlanta
          Yes, you can travel to Atlanta and work in Atlanta continously.
          3. LCA location: Atlanta. LCA beneficiary: YOU (& more). Work Location: Seatle (eg.).
          Now, you can still travel. But, you should not work in Seatle for more than 15 days.
          You have to travel back to Atlanta, once in 15 days, report to your company, and then travel back to Seatle. (Repeat until u get new LCA for Seatle.)

          1. Vicky

            Thanks Maran for reply

            can you please provide any official link for this information,So I can give it to my employer for further process.

          2. Maran

            Your employer should be knowing this. This is a temporary work around.


    1. administrator

      Gokul, it depends on the case and we cannot predict. If they have to work with other agencies, then it could delay.

      1. Vicky

        Thanks Kumar.

        I have approved LCA for location A.So can I enter in USA to location A using approved LCA …then once I got LCA for location B LCA …I will move there?

        Please reply

  17. Naga

    I am have h1b and ready to travel,but Organization have to apply a new lca to is it going to impact due to this shutdown ? If so how long it will fast I can travel.


    1. User

      Dear Naga ,

      “how fast I can travel.”

      Only you know your stamina so only you can decide how fast it will be .

      Thanks for the humour Naga , keep it coming.

  18. Shambu


    Thanks for providing detailed info.

    I still have a small about H1B processing.
    My H1B application is currently in RFE, will this shutdown affect my application process?

    Any Info provided is very appreciated..:)


    1. administrator

      It could impact, if there is a dependency on DOL or other state departments for adjudicating your case…We would not know this information as USCIS adjudicators only will know this information.

  19. Subha

    I have worked in USA earlier in L1B, I have SSN already. I have appear for PA with my wife on 1st oct, PA was done and approved, but not yet received passport . Will there be any problem for me to get the passport or to Fly to usa if I receive the passport.


  20. Amit

    My initial H1B petition was approved. My company has applied for H1 amendment under premium processing for a different client now.
    We are expecting the outcome of it by this week. Once that is approved, I’ll have to appear for stamping at the US Consulate with my family and travel to the US by mid-Oct or max by end of Oct.

    Do you see any of the above getting affected because of the shutdown?

    Many Thanks in advance,

  21. SUNIL

    I applied for extension and petition got approved status in website last week . I am yet to receive my new petition there any impact on it??

    1. administrator

      Sunil, No impact. It will be delivered by USPS Mail normally as the postal department will function normally during shutdown.

      1. SUNIL

        Hi Kumar, Thanks for the information. It was in approved status from 23-sep-2013 . Still is not it didn’t move to next step POST DECISION ACTIVITY. Below is the message in the website.
        “On September 23, 2013, this I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER was approved and we sent you an e-mail notice. Please follow any instructions on the notice. If you move before you receive the notice, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283.”
        Could you please tell me when can i expect the petition??

        1. administrator

          Sunil, still it should not impact the processing because the adjudication is done. It is only about the mail delivery and some small admin work. You can expect it in two to three weeks…but, there is no guarantee as such. If you do not get anything in three weeks, you may reach out to the USCIS.

  22. Pavan

    How long would this last? WOuld this last for an year(entire fiscal year). I will have my visa extension next year, should I be concerned? Please reply.


    1. administrator

      Pavan, we do not know. It will not last for an year for sure. I guess, it could go for a week or may be few. You do not need to be concerned.

  23. Stefan

    I just got the SSN yesterday. The SSN website says that you should wait 10 days, but I just went there after 2 days (it was the next open day since I arrived on a Saturday). So even though they say wait, you don’t need to, I had no issues.

      1. Stefan

        Yes, that’s right. I brought the docs specified on the SSA website, including a letter from the employer with the specified information (I don’t think he read it, but he requested it and glanced on it). You should bring the form pre-filled. I used my company as a shipping address, since I don’t have my apartment yet.

        The website says that they prefer a birth certificate instead of passports, but my guy just used the passport and didn’t need to see the birth certificate. I also brought the I-94 printed from the CBP website.

    1. administrator

      Well, it depends on the case. If your petition adjudication is not dependent on other agencies, it should not impact the processing time. If there is a dependency, it could.

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