State Department Computer Problem Causes Worldwide Delays in Visa Issuance at U.S. Consulates

On June 12, 2015 the U.S. State Department announced that a computer glitch has hit the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) affecting the printing of U.S. visas at all consulates and U.S. embassies worldwide.

On June, 15, 2015 the State Department published the following State Department Update, indicating that there is no resolution to the problem and none in sight as of this writing.

  • The Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with our visa systems.  These issues have resulted in delays in printing visas and may mean rescheduling some visa interviews.
  • This issue is not specific to any particular country or visa category. 
  • Overseas passports are now being processed.  Domestic passport services are functioning, and we were always able to issue emergency passports to U.S. citizens overseas with urgent travel needs.
  • The Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) problems we are experiencing are not the same challenges we overcame last summer.  We are working urgently around the clock to correct the problems and restore our system to full operational status as soon as possible.
  • We apologize to applicants who are experiencing delays or were unable to obtain a passport overseas, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or U.S. visa.  
  • We are seeking to assist nonimmigrant visa applicants with urgent humanitarian travel.  Individuals with an urgent humanitarian need for travel should contact their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 
  • We are aware of pending overseas adoption cases, including in China.  We are prioritizing these cases and seek to issue these visas with few delays.
  • We regret the inconvenience to travelers, and remain committed to facilitating legitimate travel while protecting our borders. 
  • We will post updates to Travel.State.Gov as more information becomes available.

Visa applicants and their employers should expect visa issuance delays of 5 days or more, and uncertainty from consular officials as to exact time frames for visa issuance. Consulates are considering emergent circumstances and prioritizing visa applicants accordingly.

Martyn Williams, in ComputerWorld reports that this is the same system that crashed last July, causing a backlog of 200, 000 visa and passport applications. At that time the State Department had  promised a full upgrade and the construction of 2 redundant systems by the end of 2014. There is no indication whether this promise has been kept.

We will provide further updates as they become available.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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