The U.S. State Department’s computer system for processing passport and visa applications crashed this week leading to global delays for travel documents. Although the system is back on line it’s still not operating at full capacity. The U.S. government does not believe the problems are the result of any outside terrorist or malicious action, although the cause of the problem has not been identified yet. The problem occurred after routine maintenance, and was worldwide, not confined to any one specific country. The State Department states it has one of the largest Oracle-based data warehouses in the world. It has reported that in 2009 the database contained over 100 million visa cases and 75 million photographs, with the addition of approximately 35,000 visa cases every day. We urge everyone that plans to apply for visas at the U.S. Consulates worldwide to build in extra time for processing due to the current large backlogs.