Virginia, US

Jan 28 2019

Post-Shutdown Update: E-Verify Back Online; Suspended Immigration Operations Expected to Resume

United States

At a glance

  • E-Verify operations have resumed, but some system services may be delayed. Employers have until February 11, 2019 to create new E-Verify cases for employees hired during the shutdown.   
  • Further information is expected soon on the reopening of the expired EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center program, as well as other expired USCIS immigration programs.
  • Local CBP offices that suspended or limited I-94 correction services during the shutdown should begin resuming normal operations, but delays are expected.

The situation

Immigration functions affected by the month-long, partial government shutdown are resuming after Congress and President Trump agreed to a temporary spending measure that fully reopens the federal government for three weeks while budget and border security negotiations continue. 

If long-term budget legislation is not passed by February 15, 2019, another partial shutdown could occur. In the interim, affected immigration operations are expected to resume as follows:

E-Verify

E-Verify is now back online. Participating employers have until February 11, 2019 to create an E-Verify case for each employee hired while the system was not operational. Employees who were prevented from contesting a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) by the program’s expiration will be allowed 10 extra business days to contact the Social Security Administration or DHS to begin resolving the TNC. More details about E-Verify deadlines and operations affected by the shutdown are available here.

In addition, DHS has warned that while all E-Verify features and services are currently available, companies may experience longer than normal processing times as the agency processes a large number of accumulated cases. The public may also experience longer than normal response times to email or phone inquiries.

CBP correction of I-94 records

Some local CBP offices suspended corrections of I-94 arrival records during the shutdown. These services are expected to resume now that the agency has funding; however, delays should be expected as the offices work through backlogs. Foreign nationals seeking I-94 corrections should contact their local CBP office in advance in order to confirm service availability.

EB-5 Regional Center Program and other temporarily reauthorized programs

USCIS is expected to resume processing of EB-5 Regional Center petitions and applications.  Conrad 30 and non-minister religious worker processing should also resume.

Looking ahead

The spending measure signed into law last week is temporary. If by February 15, 2019, no longer-term agreement has been reached between Congress and President Trump on border security and the remaining FY 2019 budget items, another partial shutdown and immigration program expiration could occur. Immigration benefits processing at USCIS, U.S. consulates, the Department of Labor, and Customs and Border Protection would continue; though, as during the previous shutdown, delays could occur.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.