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U.S. State Department System Crash Causing Significant Visa Processing Delays

Immigration Law Alert Eric D. Ledbetter, Grant Sovern, Jose A. Carrillo

Individuals who are applying for a U.S. visa now or in the near future may experience significant processing delays at U.S. embassies or consular posts around the world. On July 23, 2014, the U.S. State Department announcedthat the global database used to process visa applications had crashed and was only working intermittently. The Consular Consolidated Database (“CCD”) houses all of the information related to issuing travel documents. This glitch could cause significant delays for hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are awaiting their travel documents. The CCD system links to other federal agency security databases and contains millions of visa cases and photographs. Visas are approved, recorded, and printed through the CCD.

According to an Associated Press Report, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf stated that the problem is worldwide and not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category. Harf said the technical issues have resulted in significant backlogs. These backlogs are making it more difficult to restore the system. “Until the system comes back online, we are unable to print visas. We apologize to applicants and recognize this may cause hardship to applicants waiting on visas and passports. We are working to correct the issue as quickly as possible,” she said.

In a follow-up statement on July 27, 2014, the Department of State said it has made continued progress on restoring full system functionality. “As we restore our ability to print visas, we are prioritizing immigrant cases, including adoptions visas. System engineers are performing maintenance to address the problems we encountered.”

Individuals who expect to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in the coming days and weeks are encouraged to plan for possible delays when making their travel arrangements.

For additional information and updates as they become available, please visit the State Department website, available here.

You may also call your Quarles & Brady attorney or contact one of the following attorneys who can assist with immigration issues: Eric Ledbetter at (312) 715-5018 / Grant Sovern at (608) 283-2668 /, Otto Immel at (239) 659-5041 /, or Jose Carrillo at (602) 229-5351 /