State Department technical glitch creating major passport, visa delays

State Department (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Waiting for a passport or visa? Sorry, the State Department is having some computer troubles.

A global database that houses all the information related to issuing travel documents crashed over the weekend, and by all accounts the glitch is not fixed and no one knows when it will be. We hear it’s causing quite a headache for consulates around the world.

The State Department did not respond to the Loop’s query about who exactly is affected and how many. Department spokeswoman Marie Harf acknowledged the problem, according to an Associated Press report, saying, “We apologize to applicants and recognize this may cause hardship to applicants waiting on visas and passports. We are working to correct the issue as quickly as possible.”

And Thursday at the State press briefing, Harf pleaded for patience, adding, “Don’t everyone go applying for a visa” right now.

The impact is in the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, as visa applications pile up and consulate staff can’t run the mandatory system checks to approve them.

State officials overseas issued 9.1 million immigrant and non-immigrant visas in 2013. And the summer months, we’re told, are the busiest time.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.

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Colby Itkowitz · July 24, 2014

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