• Ongoing System Outage to Cause Significant Visa Processing Delays
  • July 14, 2015
  • Law Firm: Duane Morris LLP - Philadelphia Office
  • On June 9, 2015, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) experienced a technical issue that prevented U.S. Consulates and Embassies from conducting mandatory security checks prior to issuing visa stamps (required for most foreign nationals to enter the United States to work, study, visit or immigrate). As a result, nonimmigrant and immigrant visa processing is on hold and applicants have been cautioned to expect significant delays even after visa services are restored.

    As of June 23, 2015, the DOS has restored connectivity to 39 posts, representing more than two-thirds of its normal capacity, yet the technical problems persist and may not be resolved by the end of this week as initially anticipated.

    What to Do During This Time

    Applicants with scheduled appointments should regularly check their consulate's website for details on how to proceed, as some consulates are automatically cancelling or rescheduling appointments without advance notice. Applicants may locate the embassy-specific website at: http://www.usembassy.gov/. Relevant information usually may be found on the home page or on the "Visas" page. Applicants are also advised to check their online case status for further information.

    Those applicants who submitted their applications on or after June 9, 2015, may be required to resubmit their applications in addition to rescheduling their appointment. Due to the existing backlog, some high-volume consulates are reporting no appointment availability until August 2015.

    Emergent Travel Need

    Applicants who are approached by private entities purporting to be able to expedite visa processing for a fee should be aware that U.S. Consulates and Embassies do not accept payment for expedited visas and are currently reviewing only expedited visa requests for an emergent travel need due to a medical or humanitarian emergency.

    It is important to note that "business need" is generally not considered to be a qualifying emergent travel need.