Technical problems plague overseas visa, passport issuance

15 Jun 15

UNITED STATES

The State Department said Monday that it continues to grapple with technical problems that have left it unable to print visas at a number of embassies and consulates around the world. The announcement followed a separate alert last week about delays in passport issuance.

“We apologize to travelers and recognize that this may cause hardship to individuals waiting for visas overseas,” the State Department said.

The State Department said a “hardware failure” on June 9 “halted the flow of biometric clearance requests from posts to the Consular Consolidated Database.” The result is that embassies and consulates are unable to run the required security checks needed to print visas and other travel documents.

As for passports, any application accepted at an overseas facility between May 26 and June 14 may be affected. The State Department said anyone who submitted an application between those dates who needs to travel in the next 10 days should request an emergency passport at the same embassy or consulate where he or she submitted the initial application.

Domestic passport issuance is unaffected, the State Department said.

Officials said they are working to prioritize urgent humanitarian travel, and suggested that those requiring urgent humanitarian travel contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Officials are also prioritizing overseas adoption cases, the State Department said.

The technical problems are reportedly unrelated to the problems the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs experienced in July 2014.

BAL Analysis: Travelers are urged to plan well in advance whenever possible. BAL will continue monitoring the delays in visa and passport issuance. Contact your BAL attorney if you are in need of additional information.

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