October 2, 2022

Volume XII, Number 275


September 30, 2022

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Delays in U.S. Visa Processing Due to U.S. Department of State Technical Problems

On June 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that its visa system is experiencing technical problems, which are now causing significant delays in visa processing. The technical problems are preventing the DOS from performing national security checks, without which the DOS may not issue visas to foreign nationals. The DOS is also unable to print some visas upon approval. The issue is not specific to any particular country or visa category.

The DOS has made some progress in restoring its visa processing capabilities, and the Department is working around the clock to restore the system to full functionality. In the meantime, the visa backlog continues to grow. Many applicants are currently waiting several weeks for visa appointments at U.S. consulates abroad, and applicants at certain consulates must continue to wait for their approved visas to be printed and issued. On June 23, 2015, the DOS issued a list of consulates that are connected and able to issue visas.

Employers should be aware that employees who are currently traveling internationally will be unable to re-enter the United States until they have obtained a visa. Additionally, employers should inform employees who had planned to travel internationally in the near future of the visa processing delays, as they may want to postpone their travels until the DOS is able to process visas in a timely manner. Alternatively, if international travel is essential in the near future, employees may be able to avoid lengthy stays abroad by initiating the visa application process immediately and securing a visa appointment during an optimal time period.

Note that employees who already have valid visas in their passports do not need to apply for new visas; the current delays in visa processing will not affect international travel for these individuals.

©2022 MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLPNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 175

About this Author

Kelly M. Fortier, Michael Best Law Firm, Business immigration, Attorney

Kelly helps employers of all sizes meet their staffing needs by handling the immigration issues they face in hiring foreign nationals and moving employees around the globe.

A partner in the firm’s Labor and Employment Relations practice group and Co-chair of the Immigration and International Migration team, she handles compliance issues for corporations that transfer dozens of employees into and out of the United States each year as well as small companies seeking to bring in a few key hires from abroad.

Kelly is highly...

Jose Olivieri, Michael Best Law Firm, Higher Education, Labor and Immigration Attorney
Partner, Industry Group Chair

José is the founder and co-chair of Michael Best’s immigration law practice. Clients depend on his deep knowledge of and experience with U.S. immigration law and employment-based immigration matters, including:

  • Immigration status

  • Permanent labor certification

  • National interest waiver

  • Adjustment of status

  • Consular processing

  • Citizenship and...

Kelly Rourke, Michael Best Law Firm, Immigration and Employment Attorney

Kelly assists employers with administrative law matters, focusing her practice primarily on employment-based immigration.

She regularly helps clients meet critical staffing needs by obtaining nonimmigrant status for foreign workers and securing and maintaining legal permanent residence for foreign nationals. To this end, she handles an array of nonimmigrant petitions, applications for labor certification, adjustment of status and naturalization filings, consular processing matters, motions to reopen, and motions to reconsider. She also...