Visa Alert! State Dept Computer Crash Halts Visa Issuance (06-19-15)
Update: As of 6/26/15, the State Department reports that ALL visa-issuing embassies and consulates are back online. All posts are interviewing applicants and issuing visas, and the backlog is expected to be cleared by early next week. Please check the website of the nearest embassy or consulate for interview appointment availability and up-to-date messages.
If you are engaging a foreign guest artist who planned to obtain an O or P visa at a U.S. consulate during the week of June 14, you may be aware of a global State Department system failure that has halted visa issuances.
Find the latest State Department news about the technical problem here. Because the computer failure is related to the steps of identity verification and security screening, it is highly unlikely consulates will be able to issue visas, even for the most urgent cases. While State Department officials say they are working around the clock to address the problem, there is no confirmed date for a return to normal operations. U.S. arts organizations presenting international artists in the very near term should have a back-up plan, as without a fully-processed and issued visa, artists are unable to work in the U.S.
As systems come back on line, consulates will begin prioritizing visa issuance. Traveling artists should make their case for the time-sensitive nature of travel. Please make sure your artists have this memo on hand to underscore the time-sensitive nature of the performance(s) in the U.S.