The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has reported that it is experiencing technical problems with its visa systems, preventing it from issuing visa stamps to foreign nationals. The problem also affects the ability to schedule visa appointments. Some visa applicants have had their appointments canceled and re-scheduled (months into the future). This system failure is preventing DOS from processing and transmitting biometric data checks. Due to national security protocol, fingerprint information is required to issue a visa.
This is a global issue affecting U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide. DOS hopes that it will be operational by the week of June 22, 2015 sometime, but it could not provide any guarantees as to the exact timeframe. Delays may continue after the system problem is resolved while DOS gets caught up on visa issuance.
What does this mean for foreign nationals and their employers? If foreign nationals are planning to travel outside the U.S. and require visa issuance, their return to the U.S. may be delayed until the system is back up and running. Employers and their foreign national workers should be cautious when making international travel plans when a visa stamp is required for the workers to return to the U.S.