US visa glitch to continue for a week

Mumbai, June 18 (IANS) The ongoing technical problems with the US Department of State’s visa systems since June 9 are not expected to be rectified before next week and will start only after July 6, an official statement said here on Thursday.

Over 100 computer experts from private and public sectors are working on the problem 24×7 in the United States for the global issue that has hit visa operations since over a week now.

As a consequence, all non-immigrant visa interviews in the US Embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad between June 22-26 have been cancelled.

Visa applicants with appointments for this period have been asked to reschedule their appointments online for biometric enrollment and visa interview to any date after July 6.

After restoration of visa services, the applicants would be notified via email or SMS when they can pick up their passports, between 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Applicants can track the status online at — http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-loc-passportcollection.asp.

For those applicants requiring passport back for other urgent upcoming travels, the case would be placed on ‘Administrative Hold’ for 12 months and the passport would be returned without the US visa.

The technical problems stem from a hardware failure in a US State Department facility since June 9 preventing processing and transmitting biometric data checks at visa-issuing embassies and consulates for applications made from May 26.

“We cannot bypass the legal requirements to screen visa applicants before we issue visas for travel. Each visa decision is a national security decision, and we take our obligation to protect the United States seriously,” the statement added.

Emphasising that the issue is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document or visa category, the US authorities have expressed regrets for the hardships caused to those waiting for visas for personal or professional purposes.

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