(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The US embassy in Qatar announced Monday that DS-160 visa applications made after June 8 have been affected by technical problems being experienced by the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs with overseas passport and visa systems.
The DS-160, Online Non-immigrant Visa Application form, is for temporary travel to the US, and for K (fiancÃ©(e)) visas, according to the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
"This issue is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category," the embassy explained in a statement while apologising for the inconvenience.
"Consular Affairs is working urgently to correct the problem and restore full operability. Unfortunately, the consular section has been unable to print any visas since June 9. If you would like to pick-up your passport without visa, please visit the embassy any working day between 2.30pm € 3.30pm," the statement added.
In a post, dated June 12, the Bureau of Consular Affairs has mentioned on its website that "the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) problems we are experiencing are not the same challenges we overcame last summer.
"We apologise to applicants who are experiencing delays or are unable to obtain a passport overseas, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or US visa at this time. Domestic passport issuances are not affected at this time. We are able to issue emergency passports to US citizens overseas for urgent travel."
It is explained on the website that a hardware failure on June 9 halted the flow of biometric clearance requests from posts to the CCD. Individuals who submitted online applications or were interviewed for visas on or after June 9 may experience a delay in the processing.
"The systems in place to perform required national security checks before we issue visas are experiencing technical difficulties. As a result, we are unable to print visas, regular passports overseas, and other travel documents.
"We cannot bypass the legal requirements necessary to screen visa applicants before we issue visas for travel. As a result, there is a backlog of visas waiting to be processed. We are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue and to clear the backlog.
The technical issues we are experiencing have disrupted or prevented some of the Department's primary data-share partners from accessing visa records."
Since the US embassy in Qatar usually experiences a heavy rush of non-
immigrant visa applicants during summer, any delay in the visa
processing is likely to upset the travel plans of many, it is learnt.
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