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Monday, June 29, 2015

State Department: All visa-issuing embassies and consulates are now back online.



From the US State Department:

Technological Systems Issue

JUNE 29, 2015

Visa Systems Issues

  • All visa-issuing embassies and consulates are now back online. We are scheduling visa interviews and issuing nonimmigrant and immigrant visas.
  • We issued more than 410,000 nonimmigrant visas from June 21 through June 29. Consular staff worked through the weekend to diminish our backlog, the bulk of which has now been cleared.
  • We have issued all remaining H-2 visas for temporary workers that were pending during the June 9 – June 19 timeframe. Mexico posts are now processing all H-2 visas as normal.
  • We are still experiencing problems with some online immigrant visa application forms. We hope to have a fix in place for this by early next week.
  • We deeply regret the inconvenience to travelers who are waiting for visas, as well as their families and U.S. businesses that have been affected.
Q: How can you clear your backlog so quickly?
  • As posts have been brought back online, we have been processing pending biometric checks. As those results are obtained and automatically transferred back to posts, our overseas staff has been completing the final adjudication steps to issue the visas.
  • Between June 9 and June 19, 335,000 visas that ordinarily would have been printed were stuck in clearance. Of that number, nearly 300,000 have now been printed. We expect to eliminate the remaining backlog this week.
  • Between June 9 and June 19, we advised affected applicants that they could reschedule their appointments for a later time. Most applicants interviewed between June 9 and 19 had submitted their applications before June 9. Their interviews went ahead as scheduled. All posts have now reopened appointments, and many have added capacity to accommodate rescheduled applicants.
  • New appointments continue to be scheduled every day. Please see travel.state.gov for information on appointment wait times at specific posts.
Q: How are cases being prioritized?
  • We continue to facilitate urgent cases for those individuals who need to travel imminently, and will continue to do so until the systems return to full capacity.
  • We apologize to travelers and recognize that this has caused hardship to some individuals waiting for visas as well as families and employers.
Q: What about the foreign agricultural workers (H2A visa holders?)
  • We have issued all remaining H-2 visas for temporary workers that were pending during the June 9 – June 19 timeframe. Mexico posts are now processing all H-2 visas as normal.
Q: What about domestic passports?
  • Domestic passport operations are functioning, with some processing delays. However, most of the passport workload is being processed within customer service commitments posted on travel.state.gov.
Q: What about overseas passports?
  • Overseas passport applications are being processed. There have been delays in some cases, but posts overseas are able to issue emergency passports in urgent cases.