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4 December 2023

Strengthening Border Control: Inadmissible Passengers (INADs) from a Government Perspective

Efficient border control is an essential element of national security, public health, and economic stability for any government. A critical aspect of border control is the management of inadmissible passengers (INADs). In this previous article, we analyzed INADs from the airlines’ perspective, while here we will explore the view of governments.

Our Compliance Requirements Network sources data from government agencies around the world, and various countries have shared the most common reasons for inadmissibility and the elements that are prioritized during border checks.

In this article we delve into the challenges governments face because of INADs, and the expectations they have on airlines when performing checks on passengers. Find out how to decrease the number of INADs and associated fines as we explore key potential solutions. 

Understanding Inadmissible Passengers (INADs) and Their Reasons


INADs represent individuals denied entry into a country upon their arrival at the port of entry. The main reasons government may classify a passenger as INAD include:

  • Invalid Documentation: INADs may present incomplete travel documents that do not meet the destination country's requirements. Most commonly, this involves the lack of a valid passport and/or visa.
  • Fraudulent or Missing Documentation: Undocumented passengers and passengers with fake documents are those who use illegal means to circumvent or otherwise avoid detection during migration controls. Passengers may use counterfeit, altered or forged documents, and those arriving without documents have in most cases deliberately disposed of them after passing through the operating carrier's screening process.
  • Criminal Records and National Security Threats: Individuals with a history of criminal convictions or pending criminal charges in the destination country are often considered inadmissible. Some may pose a potential threat to national security, including concerns such as terrorism or espionage.
  • Health Concerns: Passengers may lack required medical documentation to enter a country and could be considered INADs based on the imperative of protecting public health, as they might be considered at risk of carrying contagious diseases.
  • Immigration Violations and Credibility: Violations of immigration laws, such as overstaying a previous visa or entry permit can also result in inadmissibility. Certain passengers may have the proper documentation to enter a country but still be considered inadmissible after an assessment of the reliability of the declared purpose of visit and lack of sufficient funds to cover their stay.

Priorities in Border Checks


Governments have a set of key priorities during border checks that ensure national security and public health:

  • Verification of Travel Documents: Authorities meticulously scrutinize travel documents presented by passengers to ensure their authenticity and validity. This process involves cross-referencing passenger information with watchlists and databases to identify potential INADs.
  • Security Screening: Stringent security checks are conducted to identify potential threats, including terrorism and criminal activities. Governments rely on advanced screening technology and intelligence-sharing to enhance security measures.
  • Health Inspection: Public health authorities may examine arriving passengers for contagious diseases (e.g. during the COVID-19 pandemic) and ensure they meet health requirements for entry, a process critical for preventing the spread of infectious diseases and safeguarding public health.
  • Immigration Compliance: Immigration officials assess whether passengers comply with travel documents and visa regulations. Ensuring immigration compliance is vital for maintaining immigration control and preventing illegal entry.

Main Challenges at Border Control


Border control operations confront a series of challenges that complicate the efficient processing of passengers:

  • Volume and Speed: The high volume of travelers that must be processed rapidly can strain available resources and hinder thorough checks. Balancing efficiency with security remains an ongoing challenge.
  • Evolving Threats: Security threats are continually evolving, requiring the adaptation of screening methods and intelligence-sharing capabilities to address emerging challenges effectively.
  • Human Error: Border control officers, despite their training and expertise, can make mistakes when evaluating documents or identifying potential INADs, adding an element of uncertainty to the process.
  • Legal and Ethical Concerns: Striking a balance between maintaining national security and respecting civil liberties can be a complex issue, often involving legal and ethical dilemmas.

Government Expectations from Airlines


Airlines are pivotal partners in the border control process. Governments expect airlines to:

  • Verify Passengers: Airlines are responsible for verifying the authenticity and validity of travel documents and visas for all passengers before boarding a flight.
  • Cooperate with Authorities: Airlines are expected to collaborate closely with border control agencies to assist in the resolution of any security or immigration issues, ensuring seamless coordination and communication.
  • Maintain Data Security: Airlines should prioritize data security and ensure passenger information is safeguarded, in compliance with data privacy regulations and international standards.

Solutions to Decrease INADs and Fines


Reducing the number of INADs and associated fines is a complex challenge that requires collaborative effort:

  • Enhanced Pre-Departure Screening: Governments can work alongside airlines to implement more stringent pre-departure screening processes through interactive API, helping prevent possible INADs from boarding. Interactive API solutions enable more efficient and effective processing of passengers, identifying and intercepting inadmissible individuals before departure if the reasons for inadmissibility are linked to information contained in government databases. When the reasons for inadmissibility are caused by inadequate documentation, Timatic AutoCheck can be integrated into any part of airlines’ operational processes to automate passenger checks reducing mistakes, improving check-in times and reducing fines.
  • Better Data Sharing: Improved information sharing between governments, airlines, and relevant agencies can help identify potential INADs at an earlier stage in the travel process, facilitating proactive interventions.
  • Enhanced Training: Airlines should be provided with advanced training and resources to better identify fraudulent documents and potential INADs.
  • Technological Solutions: Implementing advanced technology, such as biometrics and artificial intelligence, can streamline border checks and enhance security, improving the accuracy and efficiency of passenger screening.

In conclusion, efficient border control is a shared responsibility between governments and airlines, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding national borders and ensuring the seamless flow of travelers. Understanding who INADs are, their reasons for inadmissibility, and the consequences for airlines is critical to achieving this objective. Collaboration between governments and airlines, along with the implementation of effective solutions, can help reduce the number of INADs and fines, thereby enhancing border control and security. By working together, governments and airlines can further strengthen their roles in safeguarding national borders and ensuring a smooth travel experience for all travelers.

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