Worldwide Delays in Passport and Visa Processing

Passport and US VisaA systemic technological issue within the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has globally halted U.S. passport and visa issuance. The issue originates within the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD), a data platform operated by the Bureau to store information on applicants for immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, and U.S. passports at consular posts abroad. With this current outage, U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide have also delayed most scheduled interviews at this time. The technological issue is not linked to a particular country, immigration document or visa category.

The Bureau maintains that this issue is unrelated to the outage it faced last year. While it urgently works to correct the problems and restore the system to full operational status, the Bureau has announced that it will issue emergency passports to U.S. citizens overseas for urgent travel. According to the Department of State, all passport applications accepted overseas on or after May 26, 2015, have been affected.

Within the realm of U.S. visas, a hardware failure on June 9 temporarily stopped the flow of biometric clearance requests from posts into the CCD. As a result, the systems that run required national security checks in advance of issuing visas are experiencing technical difficulties. Thus, individuals who submitted online applications or were interviewed for visas on or after June 9 may experience a delay in the processing. As the Bureau cannot bypass this legal requirement to screen applicants, it remains wholly unable to print visas. Consequently, there is a backlog of visas waiting to be processed. Service will continued to be delayed until the system is brought back online. At this time, the Bureau will only assist non-immigrant visa applicants with urgent humanitarian travel.

If you have recently submitted an application to a U.S. embassy or consulate or have plans to attend an interview in the near future, be sure to check the webpage of your designated embassy or consulate location daily for updates. If you applied for a U.S. passport after May 26, 2015, and have urgent travel plans within the next 10 days, the Department of State has recommended that you request an emergency passport at the U.S. embassy or consulate at which you originally applied.

Berardi Immigration Law is monitoring this situation closely and is actively responding to all Department of State directives. If you would like more information on obtaining a U.S. visa, please schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today.

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