General News of Monday, 22 June 2015
Thousands of Ghanaian travellers face being forced to scrap flights to America following a computer meltdown that has halted all visa applications.
The US embassy in Cantonment, Accra Ghana, has not been able to issue visas for more than a week. The embassy is, however, yet to clarify when the system may be working again.
The global problem has hit business travellers who need a working visa — including musicians heading to America on tour — as well as students.
The technical glitch is also likely to affect journalists travelling to the US to cover the 2015 BET awards scheduled for Saturday 27th June.
A statement from the US embassy said the technical problem has affected all applications made after May 26, 2015.
“The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with our overseas passport and visa systems. This issue is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working urgently to correct the problem and restore full operability.
“Passport applications accepted overseas or after May 26, 2015 are affected by this delay. If you applied for a U.S. passport overseas during this time frame and have travel plans within the next 10 business days, please consider requesting an emergency passport at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at which you originally applied”.
The technical problem has reportedly affected Australian pop duo ‘The Veronicas’, who have already had to cancel their US tour and Japanese heavy metal band Crossfaith’s tour is also under threat.
The breakdown is believed to be related to the computers that approve the biometric data submitted with an application.
US officials have said there is “no evidence” it was the result of a cyber-attack. It is not known if the problem will be solved before next week.