The State Department is having some technical difficulties with its overseas passports and visa systems, and while it’s working to figure out the problem, it stopped giving out most new travel documents.
People who applied for overseas passports after May 26 and people who applied for visas to the U.S. after June 9 will have to wait until the problem gets cleared up.
This is going down at a time when hacker-led cyberattacks on the government are very much in the news. We learned this month about hackers who stole massive amounts of personal data from the federal government. The State Department issued letters to people whose passport information was stolen in the OPM hack earlier this week.
The fact that the people affected applied so recently makes me doubtful that this is directly related to the OPM hack, since that attack supposedly concluded at the beginning of May, but malicious actors have not been ruled out as a cause.
This doesn’t impact domestic passports, so if you’re a US citizen and you need to renew your travel docs from within the US, you’re fine. The State Department will give US citizens emergency passports for “urgent” travel, but this’ll impact any Americans overseas applying for new documentation, as well as anyone from other countries who needs a visa to travel to the US.
Image via Ludovic Landry/CC