It has been revealed that as many as 20 million passports per year may not be receiving proper consideration in the UK alone. These shocking figures come as the Home Office estimated that only 90% of Advanced Passenger Information (API) is being received. API is passenger data that is electronically gathered and transmitted to government and border agencies for checking and comparison to international ‘at risk’ registers. API can detect high risk passengers on ‘no-fly’ lists across the world and can ensure that terrorist activity is kept at bay.
If these estimates tell us that 10% of UK API is not being received, this could spell an average of 20 million passports that are not being checked properly. Interpol say that countries are not doing enough checks against its list of stolen passports. Globally, this figure could reach up to one billion passengers; a disturbing figure.
API is mandatory for all passengers travelling to and from the US and has been so in the wake of the official investigation into the tragic events of 9/11. Last year, the EU questioned the use of API with regard to the privacy aspect and raised issues about the use of the information, once gathered and checked.
Once reported stolen, UK passports are cancelled and deemed unusable for travel. International stolen passports are entered into the Interpol Lost and Stolen Database, accessible by border security agencies for comparison.
The Home Office are looking into the figures to clarify the situation and are working towards improving coverage.