Wisconsin News

Local family stranded overseas due to computer glitch

U.S. embassies are having trouble issuing visas, passports

Visa Issue Halts Family Reunion

HOLMEN, Wis. (WKBT) - Thousands of travelers are stuck abroad due to a major glitch in the State Department's global database that issues travel documents.

U.S. embassies around the world are having trouble issuing passports and visas which is putting a lot of people in limbo as they wait to come home.

Joe and Sami Rigelsky of Holmen are the proud parents of six children. However, they knew they had more room in their hearts to grow so on July 3 they left home for China to adopt two 5-year-olds.      

After three weeks of anticipation, their kids back home in Holmen can hardly wait to meet their new siblings.

"Well, they are adopting my new siblings, Worthy and Gospel," said Kalista Rigelsky, Joe and Sami's daughter.

Sami said the adoption process has been in the works since March 2013.

"Every time I would see an airplane fly, I would daydream about what it would be like, and I thought it was going to be today, but I just trust God knows the plan," said Sami.

The adoption went smoothly.  However, getting home is a different story.

"They are supposed to be home, but they are coming home later," said Roman Rigelsky, Joe and Sami's son.

"There has been some kind of computer glitch," said Dave Friedman, the president of Friedman's Hobbit Travel. "People that need an inbound visa, in other words a visa to enter the United States from a foreign country, are unable to get them."

And without a visa, the Rigelsky's new siblings can't come home.

"They are legally ours, they just don't become U.S. citizens until their feet hit the soil," said Sami. "They are already approved for a visa, but we just have to wait for them to get printed."

Until the computer issue is resolved, families across the entire world are stuck in limbo

"Apparently thousands, the numbers are staggering, cannot get the entry document required to come into the U.S., so all they can do is literally stay where they are until they literally let them into the country," said Friedman.

Not only does it take a toll emotionally, but financially as well.

"We know that to change our flights for our family, just because there are four of us traveling, it's going to be around a $1,000 just to change them," said Sami.

Although it's been a long journey, Sami said she wouldn't change it for the world.

"You just look at them and it's all worth it, just to be able to bring these kids home and it's again not our timing, but always the right timing," said Sami.

You can bet that the six kids at home are counting down the days until they get to welcome their new brother and sister home.

"I am just really excited to meet them," said Dorian Rigelsky, Joe and Sami's son.

"I am a very sensitive person, so I will probably cry a little," said Aiyana Rigelsky, Joe and Sami's daughter.

The issuing of visas does not affect people who want to get a passport to travel from the United States to somewhere else. It only impacts those wanting to enter the United States.

Top Videos

Latest News

This Week's Circulars