Form DS-160 Not Yet Ready for Prime Time

I’ve written previous posts criticizing the State Department for requiring the public to use the new Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, before the Department’s form-filling website is ready for prime time. See here and here. Right now it’s 11pm. I just wasted 45 minutes trying to upload the saved data for a form when suddenly the website timed out, meaning that I need to start over.

But what irritates me ever more is the State Department’s message about the website’s technical problems:

ceac-technical-problems-08-mar-2010

This message strikes me as disingenuous. First, the website problems have not been “resolved,” as the hardworking paralegals at our law firms’ multiple offices can attest after hours and hours of failed attempts to file Forms DS-160. Second, the problems were not “unanticipated” but instead ongoing, as reflected by my prior posts. Third, calling the remaining problems “latency issues” is pure technobabble meant to obfuscate the problem that website is still so slow that it crashes.

In response to this problem, the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association has been in contact with the Visa Office regarding the Form DS-160 problem and has urged that all consulates immediately resume accepting the old visa application forms until the problem is solved. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing has continued to allow submission of the old Forms DS-156 and 157 for the second straight week, but the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai has stubbornly resisted this reasonable solution to allow applicants to travel to the U.S. without interruption.

I’m confident the State Department will eventually fix the problem. I just wish they wouldn’t treat the public as beta testers and then call it “customer service.”

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