Computer performance problems have slowed the issuance of non-immigrant visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide. The U.S. State Department’s Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) began slowing on July 20th due to systematic failures after software updates were installed, ironically to fix performance issues over the previous few months. The CCD software is used by the State Department to approve, record, and print visas and other travel documents. This system failure has caused a widespread backlog of applications which in turn has affected the system’s ability to gain back functionality.
On July 23rd, operations were partially restored allowing U.S. Embassies and Consulates to resume issuing visas with priority given to immigrant visas, adoption cases, and emergency non-immigrant visa cases. The State Department announced “Our visa and passport processing systems are now operational, however they are working at limited capacity. We are still working to correct the problem and expect to be fully operational soon.” State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, has said that the problem is worldwide and not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category. “We apologize to applicants and recognize this may cause hardship to applicants waiting on visas and passports. We are working to correct the issue as quickly as possible,” she said.
It is unknown how many people are affected by the systematic failure, but it is estimated by some officials who have knowledge of the situation that around 50,000 people have been affected in one country alone. From July 20th through July 28th about 220,000 non-immigrant visas were issued worldwide, which is approximately one half of the normal number of 425,000 non-immigrant visas issued during a normal week.