UPDATED: State Department Update on Computer Glitch Impacting Visa Issuance

The State Department is in the process of resolving technical problems with its visa systems which have been down since June 9th, 2015. U.S. embassies and consulates around the world have not been able to issue visas since then. The hardware glitch is related to the collection of biometric data which is not processing properly to allow embassies and consulates to perform security checks required to issue visas. The State Department confirms that it is striving to have the system online sometime this week. On June 17, the State Department provided the following information:

  • The Bureau of Consular Affairs is in the process of resolving technical problems with our visa systems.  Biometric data is not yet processing properly to allow embassies and consulates to perform security checks required to issue visas.
  • More than 100 experts across the country are working on this problem 24/7.  We are pursuing a variety of solutions.  This week, nearly 750 temporary or seasonal workers who had been issued visas in the past were issued new visas in Mexico, and we have issued another 1,500 visas globally for urgent and humanitarian travel.  We continue to look for ways to facilitate travel as we work to restore the systems to full functionality. 
  • We deeply regret the inconvenience to travelers and recognize the hardship to those waiting for visas, and in some cases, their family members or employers in the United States. 

The technical glitch has caused disruptions for U.S. employers around the country, who have found themselves without key employees who are stuck abroad while waiting for the return of their passports or the re-scheduling of cancelled appointments. This has also impacted many other L-1, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, P-1 , J-1 visa applicants who have had to delay start dates, as well as E investors and entrepreneurs who need to get back to the United States to run their businesses.

The State Department updates can be found here. In the meantime, the U.S. embassy in London provides a useful FAQs for visa and passport applicants – while this resource was provided by the U.S. embassy in London, the information is still useful for other U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.

Loke Walsh Immigration Law will continue to post updates as we receive them.
 


UPDATE:

  • The State Department confirms that it is making progress towards resolving the technical problems experienced since June 9th. Though some progress has been made, biometric data processing has not been fully restored.
  • The State Department team continues to work on this 24/7 to restore the systems to full functionality.
  • As of noon on June 22nd, 2015, twenty two (22) consular posts (i.e. U.S. embassies/consulates) have been reconnected, representing about half of the global nonimmigrant visa volume. Consular posts around the world receive about 50,000 applications per day.