State Department expects visa backlog to be cleared within a week

26 Jun 15

UNITED STATES

The State Department said Thursday that a backlog of visa applications facing U.S. embassies and consulates around the world should be cleared within a week.

Embassies and consulates were rendered unable to issue visas for almost two weeks this month after a computer glitch crippled biometric data processing, making it impossible to run security checks.

The State Department said Thursday that 165 U.S. diplomatic posts were back online. Those posts handle more than 85 percent of U.S. nonimmigrant visa demand worldwide, according to government figures.

“Many posts are working overtime this week and during the upcoming weekend, and we expect to eliminate the backlog in a week or less,” the State Department said.

Officials said that overseas embassies and consulates issued 82,000 visas Wednesday and more than 238,000 this week. That compares to the roughly 540,000 visas that would have normally been issued since the time the outage struck on June 9.

Embassies and consulates are once again scheduling interviews, and those in need of an interview should check with the appropriate embassy or consulate for appointment availability. For the latest information on the situation, visit the State Department’s U.S. Passports & International Travel website.

BAL Analysis: News that the visa backlog should be cleared soon and that more diplomatic posts are online is welcome. Travelers are nonetheless urged to submit applications for travel documents as early as possible and prepare for possible delays until the problem is fully resolved.

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