Glitch halts US visa issuance worldwide

Blank US visitors visa

Blank US visitors visa

A technical glitch is affecting the issuance of visas and passports at US Embassies worldwide. The glitch has prevented the U.S. from issuing thousands of visas since June 9, a statement issued by the Department of State says.

The glitch has affected the flow of biometric clearance requests from U.S. consulates world-wide to the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). Biometric data, including fingerprints, are used for security screening of applicants.

“The system that helps perform necessary security checks has suffered hardware failure,” the statement reads. “Until it is repaired, no visas can be issued.”

“Our border security responsibilities are critical to the visa process.  We cannot bypass the legal requirements to screen visa applicants before we issue visas for travel,”  the statement adds.

The US embassy in Kampala posted on its website that it is unable to print most immigrant and non-immigrant visas approved after June 8, 2015.

“Individuals with visa interview appointments scheduled for June 14-20, 2015, should reschedule their appointments if they submitted a DS-160 online application after June 9, 2015,” a post on the US embassy website in Kampala reads.

An official at the  Embassy in Kampala said technicians are working around the clock to resolve the issue but couldn’t offer a timeline for when the system would be back in action.

The issue is not specific to any particular country or visa category. The statement says the problem is a global issue and ruled out the possibility that it stemmed  from any cyber-security hacking issues.

Persons who applied for a US passport overseas after June 9th and those with travel plans within the next 10 business days have been advised to request for emergency services from the embassy in their countries.

In 2014, U.S consular offices issued 9.9 million non-immigrant visas and an additional 467,370 immigrant visas.

Below is the Statement Issued by the Department of Statement  
  
The Bureau of Consular Affairs continues to address technical problems with our visa systems.  Some visa applicants will experience delays in receiving visas.  Others will be contacted directly to reschedule their appointments.  Passports are still being processed.  
 
This issue is not specific to any particular country or visa category; this is a global issue.  We do not believe these problems stem from any cyber-security hacking issues. 
 
Our border security responsibilities are critical to the visa process.  We cannot bypass the legal requirements to screen visa applicants before we issue visas for travel. We are assisting visa applicants with urgent humanitarian travel, and adoption cases are being processed.  Individuals with humanitarian travel needs should contact their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 
  
Q: What caused this outage?  Was it a malicious action or hack? 
  
There is no evidence the problem is cyber security related.  
  
Q: How long before you restore full system functionality? 
  
Overseas passports are being issued.  Public and private sectors experts are working around the clock to correct the problem, but we do not expect the system will be online before next week.  
  
Q: How many travelers are affected by this outage? 
  
This is a global issue and is having impact on our consular operations.  We are in daily communication with consular operations worldwide to assess the evolving impact and provide guidance, including information for the traveling public.  
  
Q: Once operational, how will cases be prioritized? 
  
Once the systems are fully operational, we will work as quickly as possible to clear the backlog of pending visa cases.  
 
We apologize to applicants and recognize that this may cause hardship to applicants waiting for visas.