As we reported last week, the Bureau of Consular Affairs continues to face technological issues with its visa systems. The Department of State (DOS) posted a statement yesterday that it endeavors to have the system fully reconnected this week. As of noon yesterday, 22 posts around the world have been reconnected. This represents approximately half of the global nonimmigrant visa volume.
The agency stated that it has made good progress as it processes the large backlog of cases created by the system shutdown. Some posts were able to handle visa interviews as well as some visa printing by the end of last week. Several posts have also begun rescheduling visa appointments.
While the agency has made some progress in recent days, its team of experts has not been able to restore biometric data processing. This processing, which is a required step, allows the government to screen visa applicants as a security measure prior to issuing visas. Accordingly, embassies and consulates worldwide cannot issue and print most visas until restoring biometrics processing.
The agency continues to prioritize urgent medical and humanitarian visa cases while its experts work around the clock to restore the system to full functionality. Since the system has become impaired, the Bureau of Consular Affairs has issued more than 3,000 visas globally for urgent medical and humanitarian travel. Overseas and domestic passports are also being issued, although there have been delays in some cases.
The agency is also prioritizing visa issuance for temporary agricultural workers. In the past week, the agency issued visa renewals for 1,250 temporary or seasonal workers in Mexico. This is because the agency was able to capture these applicants’ biometric data before the systems went down. DOS has been working with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services as well as Customs & Border Protection to facilitate the entry of H-2 workers to travel to their places of employment. DOS has also rescheduled more than 1,500 H-2 visa applicants who were unable to be interviewed last week due to the system issues.
In addition to preparing visa applications, Berardi Immigration Law provides clients with accompanying visa appointment scheduling services. If you would like to apply for a U.S. visa, please call or email us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.