Travelers worldwide continue to experience delays in obtaining U.S. visas due to a computer crash in the State Department’s database that records and prints visas. The Bureau of Consular Affairs has said that it is making progress in restoring its nonimmigrant visa database and had made changes over the weekend to try to restore performance.

However, the system is not functioning at full capacity and an extensive backlog that developed during outages over the past 10 days has further slowed operations. The State Department has cautioned travelers that the system will not be operating normally until the backlog is cleared.

U.S. embassies and consulates may limit or reschedule nonimmigrant visa interviews until the system is up to speed. Visa applicants should track their applications, keep copies of documents submitted with their applications and carefully review visas and other travel documents once they are issued to make sure the information contained in them is accurate.

The performance problems began July 19 with the U.S. State Department’s Consular Consolidated Database. The database houses consular records and is used to approve and print visas, passports and other travel documents. As a security measure, consular officers are prevented from printing or issuing visas until approved by the database.

BAL Analysis: Travelers are urged to plan well in advance when possible. The Bureau of Consular Affairs is placing a high priority on processing nonimmigrant visas. Foreign assignees, students and other travelers awaiting U.S. visas should contact their employers or sponsoring entities regarding the possibility of such delay.

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