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Travel chaos as US struggles to deal with visa system crash

| 18/06/2015 | 0 Comments

US visa(CNS Business): Thousands of travellers have been forced to postpone or cancel travel plans to the United States as a result of a technical glitch that has crippled the US government’s visa system. Officials have said that it will not be back up and running until next week, following a hardware failure earlier this month. The technical problem is preventing the State Department from processing and transmitting mandatory, security-related biometric data checks routinely carried out at embassies and consulates.

In a press release from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, officials said it was a global issue which they are working around the clock to fix but they do not believe it is a cyber-security breach..

“More than 100 computer experts from both the private and public sectors across the United States are working on this problem 24/7,” a spokesperson stated. “We cannot bypass the legal requirements to screen visa applicants before we issue visas for travel. Each visa decision is a national security decision, and we take our obligation to protect the United States seriously.”

The system crash, however, is causing hardship to those waiting for visas, and in some cases their family members or employers in the United States. Although officers are able to handle visa interviews and printing, many have now had to reschedule visa appointments.

“We handle an average 50,000 applications daily worldwide,” the spokesperson said, giving an idea of the size of the problem. While many applicants do not have immediate travel plans and will receive visas in time for their trips, concerns are mounting over the number of urgent medical and other humanitarian cases, as well as agricultural workers. Officials said they would be prioritized once the system was operational again.

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Category: US, World Business

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