Hyderabad students stranded as snag hits US visa operations
Posted on June 23, 2015
A technical glitch in the visa operation systems of the Unites States has left hundreds of applicants, especially students, stranded in Hyderabad. Students are worried if they will be able to make it to their universities in time before classes commence.
The problem, which stemmed from a hardware failure in a US state department facility on June 9, is not limited to Hyderabad alone as it has affected its embassies and consulates across the world. The technical failure is preventing the department from processing and transmitting biometric data checks at visa-issuing embassies and consulates, the US Consulate General, Hyderabad, informed in a press communique.
All non-immigrant visa interviews scheduled at the US consulate in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai from June 22 to June 26 have been cancelled and the applicants have been asked to reschedule their appointments for biometric %enrolment and visa interview to a date after July 6, the press release said. “There is no %need to contact the call centre or customer support-simply login to your visa %appointment system profile and reschedule both of your appointments at www.ustraveldocs.com/in,” the consulate said in its communique.
On Thursday, some of the applicants who had come for their scheduled biometrics said they witnessed the technical snag. The fingerprinting machine failed during the registry, they said. “When my cousin went to register her biometric details, there was a lot of delay. We are concerned because her biometric details will be cross-checked when she lands in the US. If her details are not transmitted it could lead to problems,” said Praveen Kumar, who was waiting near the consulate.The consulate is rescheduling the biometrics and interview of applicants who have faced technical snags from June 9 and is intimating them on email.
The uncertainty of getting a visa coupled with the rising air fares during the peak travel season is causing panic among students. Classes in the US colleges start from the second week of August.
“I am concerned if the date of my interview is postponed to the next month. I might be late for the first semester of my college,” said Tarun Gupta, a student.
Apart from students, businessmen and tourists have been forced to change their travel plans. The consulate has sent many of them messages, informing them that their interviews have been rescheduled. ‘Upon the restoration of visa services, you will be notified via email or SMS when your passport is ready for pick up. Once you receive our SMS, you may go to your Visa Application Center any day between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm to collect your passport,’ the statement added.
Hyderabad sends more students to the US than cities of Delhi and Mumbai combined. In 2014, Hyderabad was issued 26,220 F-1 visas.
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