Last updated: 12:21 PM ET, Sat June 13 2015

State Dept. Computer Glitch Halts Issuing of Overseas Passport and Visas

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | June 13, 2015

State Dept. Computer Glitch Halts Issuing of Overseas Passport and Visas

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A computer database glitch has led the State Department to halt issuance of U.S. passports and visas at overseas diplomatic missions, according to a statement.

The agency places the blame on a hardware failure in the Consular Consolidated Database, resulting in overseas embassies and consulates unable to print visas, passports, and other travel documents. The statement said that those who filled out online applications for passports on or after May 26 and visas on or after June 9 could experience processing delays.

According to the statement, domestic passport and emergency passports for urgent travel are still being issued without problems.

The State Department has emphasized that cutting corners to speed up the process is not an option. "We cannot bypass the legal requirements necessary to screen visa applicants before we issue visas for travel," the statement said. "As a result, there is a backlog of visas waiting to be processed. We are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue and to clear the backlog."

Unavoidable background checks play a big part in the delay. "Security measures prevent consular officers from printing a passport, report of birth abroad or visa until the case completes the required national security checks," the statement said.

More information about the failure has not been revealed yet, though the department did say it was not the result of a cyber attack. Also, the department said this glitch is unrelated to the one that shut down the database last July.

In the statement, the State Department said it is working "urgently to identify the problem and correct it," and added, "We expect the systems to be fully operational again soon." But a specific time was not provided.

Meanwhile, check the State Department’s website for updates.


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