As a result of significant technical issues affecting the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD), the U.S. Department of State's ability to process nonimmigrant visas has been limited. This impacts all foreign nationals that are abroad and seeking nonimmigrant visas from U.S. consulates, including foreign national employees trying to secure visas to return to the U.S. to resume employment following summer trips to their home countries and foreign national students trying to timely start or resume their academic studies in the U.S.
The CCD contains all the current and archived data created and collected by all the Department's Consular Affairs operations in the U.S. and abroad. On July 20, 2014, the Department updated the CCD and, for reasons still unknown, the database soon began to experience major performance issues. Per the Department, "[w]e have experienced CCD outages in the past, but they have never disrupted our ability to perform consular tasks to this extent."
It appears that passport processing has not been affected, but nonimmigrant visa processing has borne the brunt of the outage. While the CCD was brought back online on July 23, it is still performing below its normal capacity. Due to the problems the CCD is facing, it was only able to issue around 220,000 nonimmigrant visas between July 20 and July 28. To put that figure into perspective, the Department estimates that, under normal circumstances, it likely would have processed around 425,000 nonimmigrant visas during that same period of time. In the latest update issued on August 4, 2014, the Department announced it is making significant progress in clearing the backlog of nonimmigrant visa cases and advised visa applicants that they might still experience delays of up to one week in addition to normal processing times. The Department is continuing to prioritize immigrant visa and adoption cases, nonimmigrant medical emergencies, humanitarian cases, and cases that have been pending the longest.