Planning a trip to the US soon? You may want to allow a little bit more to organise any visas needed, due to an unspecified outage in the US State Department’s processing systems.
ITNews reports on an outage in the US Consulate’s Oracle-based processing system that has seen the issuance of visas for Australians travelling to the US significantly delayed. If you’re in the class of traveller who needs a specific visa for US travel, the advice from the US consulate is that if you’ve scheduled an interview between June 14-20-(that is, this week), you should contact the embassy to reschedule if your booking was made after June 9, due to the backlog.
Just as a reminder: the vast majority of Australian citizens don’t need a specific visa for US travel, but you do need an ESTA http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/10/why-us-customs-queues-are-now-a-lot-less-painful/, which can be applied for online. It’s not clear if ESTA approvals have been delayed to any significant extent.
There’s no specific cause listed for the outage, although the US State Department suggests there’s no sign of deliberate breaches of security to speak of.