U.S. embassies and consulates abroad recently suspended issuing any U.S. visas as a result of worldwide technical issues with State Department computer systems. These technical problems cause considerable delays to foreign nationals waiting for their visa to be issued prior to traveling to the United States. The suspension is global, and does not apply to any specific visa category or nationality.

Employers should be aware that foreign employees waiting for their visas to be issued (such as those with approved L-1, O-1, H-1B, E-1, E-2, and E-3 applications) may face significant delays in receiving their passports from a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Once the State Department’s systems are functioning, it may take a number of weeks for any embassy to return passports containing a U.S. visa stamp.

In light of these delays, foreign nationals who require a visa to enter the United States should be prepared to remain outside of the United States until the technical issues are resolved. Visa holders inside the United States should carefully consider the duration of their status in making any travel plans to attend a visa interview appointment abroad. Some visa applicants may also be asked to re-schedule their appointments to a later date.