Last week, the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) visa processing database, which controls the issuance of visas and passports at the U.S. consulates abroad, experienced system performance issues (including outages) leading to worldwide delays in visa issuances for individuals seeking entry into the United States. The malfunction in the Consular Consolidated Database stalled the processing of U.S. visas for foreign nationals at consulates around the world, and was not limited to one consulate or country.
Although the consular database is back online, travelers should expect lengthy delays in obtaining U.S. visas. As confirmed by DOS officials, consular systems are not fully operational and priority is being given to immigrant visa cases over nonimmigrant visa issuances, which are further delayed as a result of backlogs that have lengthened visa wait times. In a July 30 update, DOS acknowledged that it anticipates that “it will take weeks to resume full visa processing capacity.” Visa applicants will be notified by the consulate when their passports and visas are ready to be collected.
Ogletree Deakins is continuing to monitor the situation at U.S. consulates abroad, and we will provide updates on visa processing as more information becomes available.