WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States has begun to fix a hardware problem that crashed its visa processing system, issuing 45,000 permits in the past day as it works through a big backlog.

Some 33 embassies and consulates representing 66 per cent of normal capacity were now back online including Beijing, one of the biggest US missions. “We’re working to restore full biometric data processing worldwide,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby.

“We issued more than 45,000 visas yesterday. Beijing alone issued nearly 15,000 visas,” he told reporters.

“Significant additional numbers will be issued as the backlog clears,” he added, but admitted “it’s going to take some time”.

Interviews for visa applicants are being rescheduled and some would be available as soon as Wednesday.

A team of about 100 computer experts has been working to resolve the hardware failure, which emerged at a State Department facility in the US on June 9.

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