The State Department continues to report that “technical problems” with overseas systems preventing the Bureau of Consular Affairs from issuing visas, passports and other travel documents, since last week.
Most U.S. Consulates and Embassies websites contain this (or similar posting):
“The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with our visa systems. This issue is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working urgently to correct the problem and restore full operability. As soon as the situation is resolved, we will update this message.
If you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa and you signed and submitted the nonimmigrant visa application form DS-160 on or after June 9, 2015 we will not be able to process your application. We recommend, therefore, that you continue to monitor this message for updates and only attend the appointment if the situation has been resolved.” [The Embassy of the United States, London, U.K.]
The State Department has confirmed that the problem is global (not specific to any particular country or visa category) and that it does not believe these problems stem from cyber-security hacking issues. It could not, however, confirm when the system will be back online, other than to advise that “we do not expect the system will be online before next week.”
The State Department advised that issues with the Consular Consolidated Database are affecting passport applications that have been accepted overseas on or after May 26, complicated by a hardware failure that occurred on June 9, preventing biometric clearance requests from posts to the database. This is preventing Consular Posts from being able to print most nonimmigrant visa applications approved after June 8, 2015 or process new applications submitted on or after June 9.
“The systems in place to perform required national security checks before we issue visas are experiencing technical difficulties,” the notice said. “As a result, we are unable to print visas, regular passports overseas, and other travel documents.”
The State Department indicated that it is working quickly to process the visa backlog and the technical problems have also “disrupted or prevented” data sharing partners from accessing visa records.
Individuals who completed and submitted Form DS-160 on or after June 9, 2015, are advised to monitor the consular post’s website to confirm whether the situation has been resolved prior to attending any scheduled appointment. Nonimmigrant visa applicants who submitted their DS-160 online application prior to June 9, 2015, should plan to attend their scheduled appointment.
Domestic passport operations are not affected.
The State Department added that the current problems are not the same issues that affected the database nearly a year ago. Clearly the current outage is not as sever at last year’s crash since U.S. passports are continuing to be issued (last year, passports were impacted also). See my prior post about the June 2014 outage here. http://immigrationview.foxrothschild.com/general-immigration-news-and-updates/need-a-u-s-visa-or-passport-prepare-to-wait-dos-passport-and-visa-issuance-database-crash-has-worldwide-impact/. Let’s hope this is not the beginning of a (not-so-great) June tradition.
Alka Bahal is a Partner and the Co-Chair of the Corporate Immigration Practice of Fox Rothschild LLP. Alka is situated in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland, New Jersey office though she practices throughout the United States and at Consulates worldwide. You can reach Alka at (973) 994-7800, or email@example.com.