Feeds

Need a US visa, passport? Prepare for misery: Database crash strands thousands

'It's going to take a little while'

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

An unspecified glitch in a global database used by the US government to issue passports and travel visas has left countless people around the world unable to travel for the last few days, according to State Department officials.

"The Bureau of Consular Affairs has been experiencing technical problems with our passport and visa system," Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the State Department, said in a press briefing on Thursday. "The issue is worldwide, not specific to any particular country."

The database in question, known as the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD), is said to be one of the largest Oracle-based data warehouses in the world. It holds over 100 million records of visa cases and 75 million photographs, and it currently processes around 35,000 new visa cases every day.

The system reportedly crashed following scheduled maintenance earlier this week and was out of operation for as much as a few days. Service has since been restored but only in a "limited capacity," and the downtime has resulted in a backlog of visa and passport processing that will take some time to work through.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Oracle or the State Department's IT staff was to blame for the outage, but Harf did say that the crash wasn't the result of any outside attack.

"We do not believe there was any malicious action or anything untoward here," Harf said. "This was a technical issue, and again, we are working to correct it and should be fully operational again soon."

In the meantime, it's not known just how many people have been left stranded while waiting for their US visas and other travel documents, but two US officials told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity that as many as 50,000 applicants had been affected in one unnamed country alone.

Harf could not say how long it would take to clear the visa backlog or when the database would be restored to fully operational status. "It's going to take a little while, so we ask people to be patient," she said.

As of Friday morning, the State Department had yet to respond to The Reg's request for an update. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.