By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Due to technical problems with the U.S. State Department passport and visa systems, the United States’ overseas embassies and consulates have announced delays in the processing of U.S. visas for foreign nationals and the issuance of U.S. passports abroad. The U.S. consulate in São Paulo, Brazil has also cancelled all visa interviews scheduled for Wednesday, June 16th.
Those who had scheduled appointments at the U.S. consulate in São Paulo on Wednesday will be contacted by officials to reschedule the interviews. The consulates in Recife and Rio de Janeiro as well as the embassy in Brasília, however, will be opened as scheduled.
“The U.S. 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,” stated the note on the U.S. embassy website.
According to the website, applications for U.S. visas made after June 8, 2015 as well as requests for U.S. passports abroad after May 26, 2016 are affected by this delay.
For U.S. citizens who applied for a U.S. passport overseas after May 26th and have travel plans within the next ten business days, the website says they may request an emergency passport at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at which they originally applied.
According to travel agent Eliana Ferrari the problem comes at a time when Brazilians usually travel. “July is a big vacation period for Brazilians, with school holidays and older folks trying to get away from the winter cold,” says Ferrari.
The travel agent, however, says that most traveling to the U.S. during July already have their tourist visas. “So far we haven’t had calls from clients worried about the delay in visa processing,” she adds.