Online iCERT Portal System, Currently Unavailable (Jan 2, 2019)

Updates provided by Kaitlyn Garcia, Immigration Attorney

The iCERT Portal System is currently unavailable.

UPDATED ANNOUNCEMENT (January 4, 2019, 7:00PM EST):

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor held a conference call to update stakeholders on the status of the iCERT system.

The Department states it is confident the iCERT System will open for service at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday, January 7, 2019

In the conference call, the Department indicated its iCERT Rapid Response team has been working “non-stop” to address the issues.

The steps that DOL shared with us, to recover the system and get the system running again are as follows.

1. Increasing web server capacity to 50 servers for managing the increased number of system users who need to submit applications;

2. Instituting a “CAPTCHA” feature at the iCERT login stage to ensure individuals, as opposed to computer algorithms, are interacting with the system, and;

3. Continuing to perform intensive testing and performance tuning on the iCERT system to simulate the functional load volume and activity of a large number of simultaneous system users. 

Important takeaway from the call:

Users of iCERT (employers and their attorney representatives and other representatives) should expect a huge surge in user activity upon the reopening of the iCERT System on January 7, especially in the first 15 minutes.

Important note for H-1B employers and those filing PERM labor certifications:

Non-H-2B users should not attempt to log into the system until 3:00 p.m.

The Department’s iCERT Rapid Response Team will be monitoring the system’s servers continuously when services are restored.

The agency shares their sincere sentiments to iCERT system users:

DOL explains to users of the iCERT system that DOL understands how important the system is to the national economy and the U.S. workforce. DOL states, “Out of an abundance of caution, we have established and will be prepared to activate a backup solution should an unlikely new system disruption occur.”


Update provided Jan 3 at 7:30 EST:

DOL is working on getting the system open and running again on Monday Jan. 7. Here is the official announcement shared this evening.


Update provided Jan 3 at 5:30 EST:

As of 5:30 pm (EST) today, Jan. 3, DOL has not provided additional updates on the outage. Yesterday, DOL announced that the iCERT system is experiencing an outage due to the unprecedented demand for H‑2B certifications received when the semi-annual H‑2B certification process opened on January 1, 2019. Today, DOL provided FAQs regarding mailing H‑2B applications to the Chicago National Processing Center in light of the iCERT system outage, but DOL did not provide further guidance as to how these filings will be treated given the iCERT outage. DOL is aware of the impact this system outage is having on other programs (e.g., PERM, H‑1B, H‑2A, etc.).


Original announcement:

Today Jan. 2 the Department of Labor (DOL) experienced a system disruption on the agency’s online iCert Portal. It appears the entire website is shut down, which currently prevents employers and their representatives from submitting forms such as the labor condition application required for H-1B and other nonimmigrant, and also immigrant visas. DOL indicates that the disruption may occur for a few days and will update users tomorrow, January 3 with new information.

KNG Law will be monitoring the issue and will update here accordingly with further information.

DOL Website Announcement:

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT (Updated January 2, 2019, 12:00PM EST): 

Within the first five minutes of opening the semi-annual H-2B certification process on January 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor iCERT system had an unprecedented demand for H-2B certifications with more than 97,800 workers requested in pending applications for the 33,000 available visas. With more than thirty-times the user demand on the iCERT system compared to last year on January 1, the iCERT system experienced a system disruption. The Employment and Training Administration, working with the Department of Labor's Office of the Chief Information Officer, is working diligently to have the system ready within a few days to accept a record number of H-2B applications. Enhancing system capacity and dealing with other factors such as the possible use of automated script programs during the application process are being addressed in iCERT to ensure certifications can be processed. As previously stated, the Department will be giving at least 24 hours' notice before the iCERT system is re-opened. A further update will be provided on Thursday, January 3, 2019.