The U.S. Department of State IT system used for embassies and consulates experienced technical difficulties in the third week of July 2014.
The problem is world-wide and not specific to any particular country or visa category. OISS wants you to know that this does not appear to be a long-term issue at this point. We are monitoring international student and scholar visa applications very carefully. Some students and scholars are getting visas without delay. Others have received communications from the embassy/consulate saying that there will be a slight delay. The national business and higher education associations have been putting massive amounts of pressure on the State Department to fix the problem immediately, and we’ve already seen progress. You may monitor the latest information from the Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.
While all individuals applying for a U.S. visa are screened before the issuance of a visa, certain individuals may be subject to further screening or clearance, commonly know as Administrative Processing.
Issues that may trigger an Administrative Processing or security clearance delay include:
If a security advisory opinion is requested by the Consulate (Administrative Processing) your visa will not be issued until the clearance is received from Washington D.C. On average this takes about 60 days, but can take longer. There is no way to expedite this process nor find out the status of the case. Some U.S. consulates maintain a list on their website of cases under review. Look for Administrative Processing Check Status.
Once issued the clearance can be (at the discretion of the embassy) valid for up to four years for F-1 students and up to two years for students and scholars in J-1 status as long as there have been no substantial changes in your academic or research program.
travel.state.gov is the primary source of information regarding travel delays, alerts, and warnings. Please refer to: