Visa problems expected to extend into next week

17 Jun 15

UNITED STATES

The State Department said Tuesday that officials are working “around the clock” to fix the problems plaguing visa issuance at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, but added that it does not expect to have the problems fixed before next week.

A technical glitch has left embassies and consulates unable to run necessary security checks that are required before visas can be issued. The State Department has said the problems are unrelated to the troubles the Bureau of Consular Affairs experienced in July 2014 and added that there is no evidence that the system failure stems from a cyberattack or hacking. Officials have not elaborated further.

The backlog of visa applicants continues to grow.

“This issue is not specific to any particular country or visa category; this is a global issue,” the State Department said. “Once the systems are fully operational, we will work as quickly as possible to clear the backlog of pending visa cases.”

Visa applicants should expect delays in processing, and some will be contacted directly about rescheduling appointments. The State Department first announced that it was having trouble issuing visas late last week. Overseas consulates and embassies were also temporarily unable to issue passports; however, those problems have been resolved and passports are once again being processed and printed.

The State Department said it continues to prioritize adoption cases and humanitarian travel. People with humanitarian travel needs are urged to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

BAL Analysis: The global system outage that is expected to stretch into next week will cause a backlog that could take weeks to work through even after the problem is fixed. Visa applicants should plan accordingly when making travel plans and apply for required travel documents as early as possible, especially during the busy summer months. BAL will continue monitoring the visa systems problems and will update clients should the situation change. Contact your BAL attorney if you are in need of additional information.

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