Immigration check goes hi-tech
Tourists at Delhi's IGI airport may no longer have to wait in long queues.india Updated: May 20, 2006 11:27 IST
Tourists arriving at Delhi’s international airport may no longer have to wait in long queues for immigration clearance.
The Union home ministry has decided to implement the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) by the month end. Initially, the scheme will be launched in a phased manner before it is made operational.
Here’s what the APIS will do for inflowing surge. It will slash the waiting time for passengers at immigration counters by more than half. On an average, a passenger spends nearly eight to ten minutes for immigration clearance.
Under the APIS, the immigration authorities will receive advance information for passengers as soon as the flight takes off from New Delhi. The information regarding the passenger’s passport and visa will have to be provided by the airlines concerned.
“We have requested the airlines to provide some additional information about passengers like their background and the places they will be visiting after arriving in Delhi,” an official said.
A new software developed by the home ministry will scan the passengers’ details minutes after the flight takes off for India. The software will check details like whether the passenger is wanted in any case in India, whether a “red corner” notice has been issued against him and if he is on the watchlist of the Indian intelligence and security agencies. Once the passenger, on arrival at Delhi, hands over the disembarkation card to the immigration authorities, the computer will check details with the APIS and clear the passenger.
“The entire process will be completed in a few seconds as it will be entirely computerised. The immigration officials usually waste time in manually checking the details on the disembarkation card and the passport,” the official added.
Sources said the APIS will be useful from the security point of view as advance information will be used by intelligence, customs and security agencies to profile the passengers. Though passenger profiling is being done even now, it is primarily based on the airlines’ flight manifest which has the name and passport number of a passenger.