U.S. consulates around the world are currently experiencing technical problems with its overseas passport and visa systems. This means that if you have a foreign national employee applying for a U.S. visa abroad, she or he will most likely experience delays of several weeks.
The problem is not specific to any particular country or visa category – it is worldwide – and State department staff are working around the clock to fix it. However, they do not expect the system to be online before sometime this week or next, and the Consulates’ legal requirements to screen visa applicants before they issue visas for travel cannot be bypassed.
Even after the Dept. of State’s visa system is back online, visa applicants should expect a significantly longer than usual application processing time. This means that applications may take several weeks as opposed to several days.
Consulates are recommending visa applicants not book their flights to the U.S. until a visa has been issued. They cannot provide an estimated visa processing time at this time.
Visa applicants should check the website of the U.S. Consulate where their applications are pending for updates. Updates on the resolution of these technical problems will also be posted on the Dept. of State’s website at http://www.travel.state.gov.
We would also recommend that if your foreign national employees plan to travel over the next two months and will require a new visa to re-enter the U.S. that they postpone their trip until this global visa glitch is resolved.