WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) -- A biometric technical failure has prevented the Department of State from issuing visas to foreign travelers for about two weeks.
The computer hardware issues are not expected to be resolved this week, The New York Times reported. There are no signs that the failure was due to hacking.
Officials have not been able to process and transmit fingerprints and photographs for security checks as part of its biometric screenings.
"The Bureau of Consular Affairs is in the process of resolving technical problems with our visa systems," the State Department said in a statement. "Though some progress has been made, biometric data processing has not been fully restored."
About 1,500 visas were issued for priority reasons -- medical or humanitarian, --and about 1,250 temporary visas were issued to farmworkers, whose biometric data was received before the computer failure.
The State Department receives about 50,000 visa applications daily. There was a backup system implemented , but that, too, malfunctioned. Several embassies have had to reschedule visa appointments
"We are working around the clock to fix it," John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, told The New York Times. "More than 100 computer experts from both the private and public sectors across the United States are working on this."