No End in Sight to State Department Visa Processing Delays

On June 15, we reported that the State Department computer system used for verifying the personal data of visa applicants and for printing visa stamps was crippled by a “glitch” causing worldwide delays. Today the State Department estimates that it will be at least another week before the problem is resolved.  The agency also confirmed that it was a hardware failure, which has eliminated its ability to process it’s regular volume of 50,000 applications per day.

On June 17, the State Department provided the following update:

  • The Bureau of Consular Affairs continues to experience technical problems with our visa systems. The Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) problems we are experiencing are not the same challenges we overcame last summer.
  • In addition to more than 100 computer experts across the United States working on this problem 24/7, we are pursuing a variety of solutions. Yesterday, around 250 agricultural workers who had had visas in the past were issued new visas in Mexico. We anticipate that many more will receive visas this week.
  • We deeply regret the inconvenience to travelers and recognize that this is causing hardship to those waiting for visas, and in some cases, their family members or employers in the United States.

This problem has caused disruptions for employers nationwide, especially in the agricultural sector where it is prime harvest season for many crops.  The inability to process visas has prevented thousands of agricultural workers from entering the United States.  Other employers have found themselves without key employees, who innocently scheduled vacations and visa appointments abroad, and are now stuck overseas waiting for the “100 computer experts” to fix the problem so their visas can be issued and they can return to work.  In other situations,  employee start dates must be delayed, as they are unable to get  L-1, E-3, H-1B1 and other visas issued for initial entry into the United States.

From its updates, the State Department seems aware of the significant disruption for individuals and companies. Let’s hope that the problem is resolved soon.

We will continue to post updates from the State Department 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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