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US Passport and US Tourist Visa Issues Currently the US government has an issue worldwide with its computer systems and this is slowing down the time for renewing US Passports and visas outside the US. Visa applicants who applied prior to June 9, 2015 seem to be ok but those who applied on or after that date have had their appointments cancelled and the following email has been sent out: " The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with visa systems. This issue is not specific to any particular country or visa category. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working urgently to correct the problem and restore full operability. U.S. Embassies/Consulates are currently unable to process new applications submitted on or after June 9, 2015. Nonimmigrant visa applications who submitted their DS-160 online application prior to June 9, 2015, should plan to attend their scheduled appointment. If you submitted your DS-160 online application on or after June 9, 2015, please reschedule your interview appointment by following the instructions located on www.usvisa-info.com Individuals with urgent travel should follow the instructions for expedited emergency appointment found on: www.usvisa-info.com Sincerely, The Visa Information Service" Lake Chapala area residents have also experienced issues for passport renewals starting with the bank who would issue US Dollar checks for renewals losing their agreement with their partner US bank to do so making it impossible to pay for passport renewals when the consulate does their monthly visits to the Lake Chapala area. The only way to renew is to pay in cash at the consulate. They have also said that they may not come in July although nothing is confirmed yet. Current turnaround times quoted on the State Department´s web site have gone up to 4-6 weeks for regular passports and 8 business days for expedited (these used to be done in a day or two). My office offers the service of turning in passport applications at the consulate in Guadalajara (being able to pay with cash in Mexican pesos or US dollars) and giving instructions to bring the passports to the applicants on their next trip to the Lake Chapala area. The best advice is to renew your passport now if it will expire in the next 8 or 9 months as it may take a month or two to get it back to you and many countries want to see 6 months remaining when you enter. This is also good if you plan to travel this summer. The original news releases can be found at the following links for passports and visas http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports.html http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english/news/technological-systems-issue.html
Well it seems as if the rumors are coming true. We have had many problems recently with the residente permanente applications. Chapala has been taking 4 months plus to review applications with bank statements. People complained about this so we started sending files to Guadalajara and they are faster. No good deed goes unpunished and Guadalajara has rejected many applications and not even received them saying they didn't think the person's signature matched their passport, we even had to physically bring people there to sign in front of them to prove they really signed the application. Next they decided they wanted to see everyone's original passports and once again rejected applications. Now they want proof someone is receiving a pension (not just bank stmts) and is retired. How can we prove someone is not working apart from their word? How do we prove extraterrestrial aliens don't exist (apart from the ones working on residente permanente files at immigration in Guadalajara)? We now advise all people to renew as temporary and then right away for for permanent if they want to avoid being rejected and losing prior years due to the lag time in processing leading to the old document expiring. Also there still exist differences between the offices, it is so crazy as each file needs to be analyzed to determine where we send it and for some sent to Guadalajara we have had to make a few trips due to people not signing close enough to their passport signature. There are still mistakes being made which we can appeal and win however the appeal process takes months and in the meantime you are trapped in Mexico and cannot leave the country.