Visa Issuing Capabilities Fully Restored: Backlogs Clearing

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that all visa-issuing embassies and consulates are fully functioning, as of June 26, 2015. This marks the end of a worldwide shutdown of visa issuance that began on June 9th. The DOS estimates that the accumulated backlog of visa applications will be resolved in less than a week.

Technical Problems: June 9th-26th

On June 9th, the DOS experienced an inability to complete the biometric checks required for processing visa applications abroad. As a result, more than 300,000 visa applications were delayed. The complete visa shutdown continued through June 19th. By June 22nd, the DOS was able to restore functionality to an increasing number of consular posts, with full functionality restored as of June 26th.

Visa Backlogs Being Cleared Quickly

The DOS expects to clear the backlog of visa applications within the next few days. Of the 335,000 visas that were delayed, more than 300,000 had been issued by Friday, June 26th. Consular staff continued to work over the weekend to complete the processing of visas.

Appointment Scheduling

In addition to the visa application backlog, the consular posts face additional hurdles with rescheduled and newly scheduled visa interviews. Applicants who submitted visa applications before June 9th were interviewed as normal and simply waited for visa issuance. Other appointments were generally rescheduled, often automatically.

All consular posts are now accepting visa appointments. Many have added additional appointments, in order to accommodate the increased volume created by the visa shutdown. The DOS has systems for facilitating urgent visa matters requiring immediate travel.

Remaining Passport and Immigrant Visa Issues

There continue to be some delays in processing U.S. passports, both domestically and abroad. The DOS notes that, for passports being processed overseas, consular posts “…are able to issue emergency passports in urgent cases.” The DOS also indicates that there are some problems with the online immigrant visa form system, but that work continues “around the clock to correct the issue.”


The technical problems experienced by the DOS have led to serious travel disruptions. Fortunately, the matter has been resolved within a few weeks. Hopefully, the DOS will take steps to avoid such glitches in the future; especially given the vital role the DOS plays within the U.S. immigration system.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.