DOS FAQs on Visa Delays Worldwide08 Aug 2014
As reported in a series of NewsFlashes posted on MurthyDotCom at the end of July 2014, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) began experiencing problems with one of its key computer systems, the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). This has caused some ongoing delay in visa processing at U.S. consulates. The DOS has identified the cause of the delays and released a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) with important information on what to expect while repairs to the CCD are underway.
Background on Consular Consolidated Database
The CCD is one of the largest Oracle-based data warehouses in the world and holds data from U.S. consulates worldwide. The CCD was created to allow consular officers to access a centralized database of records. A detailed description of the CCD is available on the DOS WebSite.
CCD Operating with Limited Capacity
The CCD problems coincided with the implementation of updated software on July 20, 2014. The DOS reports in the FAQs that was not until July 23, 2014 that CCD was online again, and then only in a limited capacity. To visualize the scope of this matter, between July 20 and 31, 2014, U.S. consulates printed and issued close to 250,000 nonimmigrant visas worldwide. If the CCD were working properly, this number would have been closer to 480,000.
Anticipate Delays of 10-14 Days in Visa Processing
Until this problem is resolved, visa applicants should anticipate delays. The FAQs indicate delays of between 10 to 14 days between the visa interview at the consulate and the printing of the visa. The DOS is giving priority to immigrant visa cases, including adoptions, as well as emergency nonimmigrant applications.
Students Should Apply for F-1, J-1, or M-1 Visas at the Earliest
The FAQs address the concerns of students who are expected to report to school in the month of August. The DOS suggests submitting visa applications well in advance of the expected travel dates. Those unable to obtain visas in time for the start of the school year should contact their respective school officials to discuss all available options.
H1B and Other Visa Applicants Should Plan Ahead
Individuals planning to apply for visas should check the DOS WebSite for current wait times for visa interviews. This information is available through the website’s Plan Ahead function. In light of the ongoing delays, it is important to allow time between the visa application and the anticipated travel date. H1B applicants should be mindful of timing considerations, given the number of applicants who plan to start H1B employment on October 1, 2014.
Those who do not need to enter the United States in the immediate future may wish to wait for this matter to be resolved before making travel plans that require visa issuance. For those who must travel, it is vital to plan ahead and check for the latest information. U.S. embassies and consulates generally post location-specific updates online. General updates are provided on the DOS visa page.
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