Technical Problems With Visa and Passport Systems Reported by Department of State
The State Department is reporting technical problems with their visa and passport systems. They are reporting that this is different from the problems it experienced last year. We have included a copy of the State Department’s FAQ and a link to their website. One note of importance is that if you are scheduled to be traveling in the next ten days, they recommend that you contact them immediately. Their FAQ reads as follows:
Passport/Visa Systems Errors
- The Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with our overseas passport and visa systems.
- This issue is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category.
- The Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) problems we are experiencing are not the same challenges we overcame last summer. We are working urgently to correct the problems and restore our system to full operational status as soon as possible.
- We apologize to applicants who are experiencing delays or are unable to obtain a passport overseas, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or U.S. visa at this time. Domestic passport issuances are not affected at this time. We are able to issue emergency passports to U.S. citizens overseas for urgent travel.
- We are seeking to assist non-immigrant visa applicants with urgent humanitarian travel. Travelers with an urgent humanitarian need for travel should contact their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
- We are aware of pending overseas adoption cases, including in China. We are prioritizing these cases and seek to issue these visas with few delays.
- We regret the inconvenience to travelers, and remain committed to facilitating legitimate travel while protecting our borders. We are working urgently to correct the problem and expect our system to be fully operational again soon.
- We will post updates to Travel.State.Gov as more information becomes available.
Q: Is this the same issue as last year? Was it not fixed?
- This is not the same issue as last year.
Q: What is going on? Why can’t the Department issue visas, passports, and other travel documents?
- We are working as quickly as possible to pinpoint the root cause of our technical issues.
- We apologize to travelers and recognize that this may cause hardship to individuals waiting for visas and passports overseas.
Q: How is this affecting consular operations?
- Passport applications accepted overseas on or after May 26, 2015 are affected. If you applied for a U.S. passport during this time frame and have travel plans within the next 10 business days, please consider requesting an emergency passport at the U.S. embassy or consulate at which you originally applied. Information about how to apply for an emergency passport is available on the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
- A hardware failure on June 9 halted the flow of biometric clearance requests from posts to the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). Individuals who submitted online applications or were interviewed for visas on or after June 9 may experience a delay in the processing.
- The systems in place to perform required national security checks before we issue visas are experiencing technical difficulties. As a result, we are unable to print visas, regular passports overseas, and other travel documents.
- We cannot bypass the legal requirements necessary to screen visa applicants before we issue visas for travel.
- As a result, there is a backlog of visas waiting to be processed. We are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue and to clear the backlog.
- The technical issues we are experiencing have disrupted or prevented some of the Department’s primary data-share partners from accessing visa records.
Q: Can you print a visa without using the data system?
- Security measures prevent consular officers from printing a passport, report of birth abroad, or visa until the case completes the required national security checks.
- Service to our customers will be interrupted until the system is brought back online.
Q: Can the Department just print travel letters for those who need to travel quickly?
- At this time we are able to issue passports to U.S. citizens overseas for emergency travel.
- Domestic passport operations are not affected at this time. U.S. citizens applying for a passport domestically will receive passports within the four-to-six week standard for routine passports.
- We are seeking to assist nonimmigrant visa applicants with urgent humanitarian travel. Please contact the embassy or consulate where you applied for additional information.
Q: What caused this outage? Was it a malicious action or hack?
- There is no evidence the problem is cyber security related. We are working urgently to correct the problem and expect the system to be fully operational again soon.
Q: How long before you restore full system functionality?
- We do not yet have a timeline. We are working urgently to identify the problem and correct it. We expect the systems to be fully operational again soon.