The U.S. Department of State, which operates the Consulates around the world and issues visas to nonimmigrants and immigrants, is experiencing technical difficulties.
From June 8th to June 19th, the agency was unable to issue visas into passports, despite holding interviews during that timeframe. Apparently, the technology issues were soon recognized as severe, and the agency then had over a 100 technical experts working 24/7 on the issue to rectify things. It seems things are now slowly coming back on line, and the agency says it will work through the weekends to clear backlogs.
Until there is more certainty with this IT recovery, if possible it is best to put off processing for a visa, as it is possible that an applicant may have to wait abroad for an extended period while the agency processes the visa. While there are no guarantees, it appears things may be back to normal in a few weeks.
Here’s the latest statement from the Department of State:
Technological Systems Issue
June 23, 2015
Visa Systems Issues
The Bureau of Consular Affairs reports that the database responsible for handling biometric clearances has been rebuilt and is being tested. 39 posts, representing more than two-thirds of our normal capacity, are now online and issuing visas. We are working to restore full biometric data processing.
We issued more than 45,000 visas yesterday. Beijing alone issued nearly 15,000 visas.
Our team continues to work 24/7 to restore the systems to full functionality.
We will continue to bring additional posts online until connectivity with all posts is restored.
We deeply regret the inconvenience to travelers waiting for visas.
We continue to post updates to our website, travel.state.gov.
Q: How long before you restore full system functionality?
We anticipate that the system will be fully reconnected this week. We plan to work over the weekend to clear our backlog.
As of noon today, 39 posts have been reconnected, representing more than two-thirds of the global nonimmigrant visa volume. All our servers appear to be stable.
There is a large backlog of cases to clear, but we have already made good progress. We will continue to bring additional posts online until connectivity with all posts is restored.
Q: What does this mean for travelers seeking visas?
Many posts are now rescheduling interviews. In some cases, interviews will be available as soon as June 24. Please check the website of the nearest embassy or consulate for interview appointment availability and up-to-date messages.
Q: How many people were affected by this outage?
We handle an average of 50,000 applications daily worldwide. During the past two weeks, consular sections have continued to interview travelers who applied June 8 or earlier. Interviews will now be available for those who applied after June 8. Visa issuance has been delayed by the systems outage and the backlog will be addressed.
Q: Once operational, how will cases be prioritized?
We are already prioritizing urgent humanitarian cases and temporary agricultural workers. We are working as quickly as possible to clear the backlog of pending visa cases.
We apologize to travelers and recognize that this has caused hardship to some individuals waiting for visas.
Q: What about the foreign agricultural workers (H2A visa holders?)
Nearly 1,700 temporary or seasonal workers have been issued new visas in Mexico. These are applicants whose biometric data was captured before the systems went down.
An additional 250 received Port of Entry waivers from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). We are no longer asking CBP to provide port of entry waivers, as we are now able to issue visas at border posts.
Based on our systems progress, we are currently rescheduling more than 1,500 H-2 visa applicants who were unable to be interviewed last week because of systems problems.
Visa applicants, including agricultural workers, who have not received a visa should not report to the border. Please contact the nearest embassy or consulate.
Q: What about domestic passports?
Domestic passport operations are functioning, with some processing delays.
The technical problems have affected the intake of some mailed applications and same-day service at our passport agencies; however, we continue to issue routine and expedited passports to U.S. citizens for all overseas travel needs.
Q: What about overseas passports?
Overseas passport applications are being processed. There have been delays in some cases, but posts overseas are able to issue emergency passports in urgent cases.
3. Ciudad Juarez
8. Nuevo Laredo
9. Mexico City
12. New Delhi
13. Sao Paolo
17. Buenos Aires
18. Rio de Janeiro
19. Tel Aviv
25. Santo Domingo
35. San Salvador
37. Ho Chi Minh