If you have been trying to use the online non-immigrant / DS-160 visa application system of the U.S. Department of State, https://ceac.state.gov/genniv, please be aware that the system has had major problems ever since June 8, 2013. At that time, according to the web site, the system had been scheduled for maintenance. Furthermore, the web site said that responses that were saved to the site prior to the maintenance activity might not be available after that activity was finished, and that users should consider saving their responses as well to their own computer.
As late as 11:05 pm on Monday, June 10, 2013, the system STILL has problems. In particular, a person is UNABLE either to “start and application” or to “upload an application” (that is, to restore, from a backup file on the person’s own computer, responses that previously had been saved). If you visit the site ceac.state.gov, and select the link for DS-160, you will see, on the next screen, the these two options are non-hyperlinked. Rather, the only option that can be selected is the one for “retrieve an application.”
I urge caution if you choose this last option, that is, if you are planning to retrieve responses that you previously saved to the web site. A client tried to do so on Sunday, June 9, but found that many of her responses had been lost. If you try the same action, you may find yourself in a similar situation.
I have serious concerns about how the State Department handled this maintenance activity, in particular their apparent inability to backup the system properly and to restore it again. I do hope the system will be fully operational soon. I have reported this situation to a contact of mine, who in turn has reported it to the Department of State.
Remember that even if you are represented by an attorney in your non-immigrant visa application process, you yourself (not the attorney) must be the person who electronically signs and submits your DS-160.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 610-296-3947. This blog post does not constitute legal advice.