The State Department’s Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) for immigrant visas has been down since at least July 20th. We can confirm that the service affected is specific to immigrant visa applicants and does not affect nonimmigrant visa applications. We understand from a source that the National Visa Center (NVC) that is using the website to allow applicants to send their paperwork to the consulates doesn’t have any information about the reasons or the possible timeframe on when it will be back on. We were told although we’re unable to confirm that “appointments have been canceled this time as well and it affected every consulate in the world that is using the new “faster” digital processing system.”
On July 26, we requested clarification from the Consular Affairs bureau if this is a scheduled maintenance and if they have a time frame when this will be completed. The following is a comment we received from a State Department official on background in response to our inquiry:
The Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) Immigrant Visa web portal is currently unavailable due to maintenance. During this time, IV applicants will be unable to access/login to the CEAC Immigrant Visa Agent (DS-261), Online Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260), or the Immigrant Visa Fee Payment portal. The CEAC Immigrant Visa application Status Check and Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) are not impacted by this maintenance. For urgent cases that are already at an overseas post, applicants may be asked to complete a paper-based immigrant visa application (DS-230), which will be provided by the local consulate or embassy. We regret the inconvenience to travelers and recognize the hardship for those waiting for visas, and in some cases, their family members or employers in the United States, during this maintenance period.
A quick scan of a few u.s. embassies’ visa webpages indicate no announcement of the system’s unavailability, however, travelstate.gov does have a highlighted announcement at the top of its page that says:
Immigrant visa forms and fee payments are currently unavailable in the Consular Electronic Application Center. We apologize for the inconvenience. We’re working to resolve this and hope to have the system fully functional as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
Apparently, some attorneys who made inquiries were told that a planned weekend update to the system resulted in an unexpected “catastrophic failure.” On July 27, travel.state.gov tweeted the following but we’re nowhere near in learning if this was a regularly scheduled update that gone bad, if there are other technical issues, or what is the time frame for bringing this system back online.
Immigrant visa forms and fee payments are currently unavailable in the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). We apologize for the inconvenience. We’re working to resolve this and hope to have the system fully functional as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience. pic.twitter.com/Hi0pC7iSEi
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) July 27, 2018
@CoryBooker and anyone else who can help are you aware the CEAC website has been down for over 8 days with no end in sight, no alternative way to process and no ability to speak to anyone? #desperateadoptivemama pic.twitter.com/NHwsWFIqYb
— Bethany Brown (@bethanylbrown62) July 30, 2018
CEAC portal currently. Systems been down a week. Can we please get some information on when this service is due to return?
This is halting many VISA applications and many online are concerned that this update means a longer wait time.@TravelGov@StateDept@national_visa@USCIS pic.twitter.com/IvQ8NL16Ks
— Carwen Haf Davies-Thompson (@CarwenoB_show) July 27, 2018