The Associated Press is reporting that the Department of State’s database for issuing US passports, visas, and other travel and identity documents has crashed. There is no indication yet of the cause of the crash, but travelers and others abroad applying for these documents are warned of “major delays.” According to the AP, “potentially millions” of US citizens and international travelers in need of visas are affected by the problem, which “is worldwide and not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category.” The State Department’s Consular Consolidated Database is used to verify that background checks on applicants are conducted and to print the visas and other documents.
SECOND UPDATE 7/31/14: The main travel page of the State Department’s website is providing daily updates as they work towards a resolution. They have added a FAQ page which provides more extensive information on the problem and the steps they are taking to process visa applications faster. They’ve also announced that during this period, priority is being given to immigrant visa processing. As for nonimmigrant visa processing (i.e., the processing of temporary work and travel visas), the site states: “Some Embassies and Consulates may temporarily limit or reschedule nonimmigrant visa interview appointments until more system resources become available to process these new applications.” Therefore, applicants for nonimmigrant visas are encouraged to give themselves plenty of time to process their visa stamps, and to expect significant delays until the visa system is back up and running at full capacity. The Wall Street Journal has detailed some of the difficulties these technical problems have caused.