Stuck in a Foreign Land Stuck in a Foreign Land

Stuck in a Foreign Land

For the second straight year and just in time for the busy summer travel season, the database used by the US Department of Status (DOS) to issue travel documents crashed, creating worldwide delays for US passport applications filed overseas and all types of visas for foreign nationals seeking entry to the US.  This year’s shutdown resulted in lengthy delays in overseas printing of US visas and passports, as well as in large numbers of rescheduled visa interviews. 

Starting in May of 2015, problems with DOS’s Consular Consolidated Database (CDC) created an extensive backlog of applications, the number of which, in a Catch 22, hampered efforts to get the system back up and running.  More than 200 US consular posts issue a total of several thousand visas each day and any downtime creates immediate backlogs and delays.  The crash of the CDC, which is used to approve, record and print visas and other documents, impeded the ability of consular posts to perform required national security checks prior to visa issuance, making visa printing unavailable.  Fortunately, there is no evidence that either the 2014 and 2015 issues were security-related, and DOS attributes the problems to hardware failures that stopped biometric clearance requests by consular posts from reaching the CDC.  This widespread problem followed closely behind significant portal accessibility issues for immigrant visa applications filed overseas earlier in the year.

By early July 2015, nearly all backlogs had reportedly been addressed.  Whether this becomes a regular occurrence each summer during the nation’s busiest travel time remains to be seen.

For more information, contact Linda Gemind or any member of Ice Miller’s Labor, Employment and Immigration Group

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader must consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.
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