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Int'l visitors put under scanner

Under APIS, all airlines will have to provide details of passengers within 15 minutes of plane taking off for India.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2006 23:39 IST

The Home Ministry has decided to enforce a system that will make it mandatory for all airlines to supply information about passengers arriving in India.

Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), the new guideline, which was proposed in  March 2005, will come into effect from May 1.

"The objective is to allow airport authorities to identify passengers who could be potential threats," said a ministry official.

The exponential increase in passenger traffic over the last year has also made it necessary to implement APIS, which is aimed to reduce delays at immigration counters in airports.

The scheme has been operational in the US since October 2005, allowing authorities to make checks to identify anyone who could be a potential threat.

"In the US, the authorities also obtain some information from machine-readable passports and supply this to the US Customs and Border Protection Agency," said a ministry official.

Under APIS, airlines would be required to provide details of passengers on board their carriers within 15 minutes of the plane taking off for India.

The information, transmitted electronically, will include personal information of the passenger like passport details, nationality, visa details and information on duration of stay and address.

According to the rules, if the pilot of an aircraft contravenes the provisions, he shall be liable for imprisonment for a term, which may exceed to five years and shall also be liable to fine as per the provision of section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

The proposed system will also be applicable to ships entering Indian waters.

The APIS is in place in 10 countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, South Korea, Mexico, South Africa and Bahrain.