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Applying for a US visa at the US Embassy in London or other US Embassy abroad? Delays are expected.

If you are awaiting a US passport, Report of Birth Abroad for a child, an immigrant visa allowing a person to move to the USA on a permanent basis, or a temporary US visa (such as student or visitor's visa), you are unfortunately likely to experience some delays at the moment. The Department of State has advised that the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) is experiencing technical problems with the passport and visa systems. Although the Department has been actively working on remedying these problems since 20 July 2014, they are still unresolved and therefore the CCD is operating at a reduced capacity.

What is the CCD?

The CCD is one the largest databases of information in the world, containing over 100 million visa cases, over 75 million photographs, and information collected within the USA and throughout the US Embassies world-wide.

Why are the technical problems affecting visa & passport issuance?

The CCD performs many functions, including name and fingerprint checks. These checks, along with other screenings required before the issuance of a US visa or a US passport, are the reason for the current delays as the CCD is operating at a reduced capacity.

Who is impacted by the CCD technical problems?

According to the Department of State, the problem is world-wide and affects all visa categories. The US Embassy in London is unfortunately also affected.

Will I experience greater delays if I have applied for a specific visa type?

Non-immigrant visa applicants (i.e. individuals seeking to temporarily go to the USA, such as visitors and students) are most affected. The State Department is currently prioritising immigrant visas, adoption cases, and US passport issuance, indicating that the issuance of such visas is achieved "with very few delays".

How much of a delay are the CCD technical problems causing?

The State Department indicates that visas are still being issued, albeit at a slower pace. The Department issued the following statistics regarding its current visa issuance capacity: "[T]o give you an idea of the progress we have made, from the start of the operational issues on July 20 through July 28, we issued more than 220,000 nonimmigrant visas globally. Based on our average production figures, we would have anticipated issuing closer to 425,000 nonimmigrant visas in that time period, indicating we have been able to print nonimmigrant visas for about half of all approved travelers. It will take some weeks before we are back to normal turnaround times on issued visas."

Why is this happening?

The State Department has experienced technical problems with the CCD in the past, although nothing of this magnitude. According to the Department, the severe technical issues began occurring on 20 July 2014 after a software update was performed. No specific cause has been yet identified as efforts are focused on first restoring CCD performance to full capacity. Efforts to determine the root cause of the problem will take place once this is achieved.

The American Immigration Law Office LTD is a US immigration law firm in London, United Kingdom. The firm's US immigration lawyer regularly assists applicants with visa applications at the US Embassy in London and would be delighted to assist with your matter. Contact us today!