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Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation


FILEe - Outside a State Department office, a World War II veteran holds his U.S. passport, June 2, 2014.

FILEe - Outside a State Department office, a World War II veteran holds his U.S. passport, June 2, 2014.

The U.S. State Department says a computer glitch will delay passports and visas being issued from its embassies around the world.

Officials in Washington say the computer glitch discovered on Saturday potentially could leave millions of people waiting for U.S. travel documents.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the problem is worldwide, and not specific to any country, documents or visa category. She says it will stall the issuance of U.S. passports, visas and reports of Americans born abroad.

The State Department is working to correct the problem but has given no time for when a fix will be in place.

Harf said the problems with the database have resulted in an "extensive backlog" of applications. An official says 50,000 applicants were hit in one country alone.

The database is the State Department's system of record and is used to approve, record and print visas and other documents. It ensures national security checks are conducted on all applicants.

The database is the State Department's system of record and is used to approve, record and print visas and other documents to ensure that national security checks are conducted on applicants.

Harf said, "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."

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