You may hear about "U.S. government shutdown" in the news or on social media. When the U.S. Congress cannot agree on the government’s budget, all nonessential government functions must end until an agreement can be reached. ISSS monitors these situations and will keep the University community informed about updates as they become available, or will contact individuals if a specific case is impacted.
What does a shutdown of the U.S. government mean for UMN international students, scholars, and staff?
All Non-Immigrant Visa Holders
- Travel into and out of the U.S. will continue because immigration officials in Customs and Border Protection are considered to be essential employees.
- Visa processing at U.S. embassies and consulates is fee-based and may continue, although some consulates might be impacted. Applicants should contact their closest consulate for more information.
- The E-Verify system will be unavailable. Employers use the E-Verify system to verify the employability of a newly hired employee. USCIS also uses the system to verify that a STEM OPT applicant will work for an E-Verify employer.
F-1 and J-1 Students
- There will be minimal, to no, impact of a U.S. government shutdown on international students on F and J visas.
- Fee-based processes will continue without interruption. For example, USCIS will continue to accept and review applications for OPT and STEM OPT extension (I-765) and changes of status (I-539) because applicants pay a fee.
- There will be minimal, to no, impact of a U.S. government shutdown on international scholars on J visas.
- Fee-based processes will continue without interruption. For example, USCIS will continue to accept and review I-539 applications (for dependents) and I-612 waiver applications because applicants pay a fee.
H-1B, E-3, and Employer-Sponsored Permanent Residency
- Fee-based processes will continue without interruption. For example, USCIS will continue to accept and review I-129 petitions (for H-1B, E-3, O-1, and TN), I-140 petitions (for permanent residency), and I-539 applications (for dependents) because applicants pay a fee.
- Some employment-based visa petitions that are not yet pending with USCIS may be affected by a government shutdown if the required Department of Labor (DOL) document has not yet been certified. DOL is not a fee-funded agency; therefore a government shutdown would impact DOL operations.
- H-1B and E-3 petitions: Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) could not be initiated or certified by the DOL during the shutdown.
- I-140 petitions: Prevailing Wage Determinations and Labor Certifications could not be initiated or certified by the DOL during the shutdown. (Processing time for these applications is already long, so a government shutdown of limited duration would not have a major impact on most cases.)
- In past government shutdowns, some media outlets reported that grant funds from NIH and other government agencies were not available during the shutdown. It is important to note that H-1B/E-3 employees must continue to be paid per the terms of their most recently approved petitions, as agreed to in the employer-signed certification statement.
For more detailed information about the impact of a shutdown on various government agencies, refer to these resources:
Contact us to discuss your specific case with an ISSS student or scholar advisor.