Dubai: Over 350 passengers with fake passports caught at airport this year

Last year, 443 such cases were referred to the public prosecution for further action

by

Angel Tesorero

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Published: Mon 3 Jun 2024, 12:31 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jun 2024, 10:03 PM

More than 350 incoming passengers at Dubai International Airport (DXB) were caught holding fake passports between January and March this year, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai said on Monday.

According to GDRFA, a total of 366 individuals were caught using forged passports in the first three months of 2024, a slight increase from 355 caught in the same period last year.


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Last year, a total of 16,127 documents were examined, 1,232 of which were identified as forgeries. Likewise, 443 cases were referred to the public prosecution for further action based on the specifics of each case.


Speaking to reporters at Dubai Airport’s Terminal 1, Aqil Ahmad Alnajjar, consultant, Document Examination Centre, said GDRFA has an effective system to catch fraudsters trying to enter the emirate carrying illegal passports.

Aqil Ahmad Alnajjar, consultant, Document Examination Centre at GDRFA, speaking to reporters on Monday at DXB Terminal 1. KT Photo: Angel Tesorero
Aqil Ahmad Alnajjar, consultant, Document Examination Centre at GDRFA, speaking to reporters on Monday at DXB Terminal 1. KT Photo: Angel Tesorero

He noted every counter at Dubai Airports Passport Control is equipped with an advanced machine called Retro Check, that scrutinises suspected fake passports. These machines serve as an effective firewall that help immigration officers check and detect fake passports.

Watch below how the machine works to detect fake passport:

Once a dubious passport is detected by a passport control officer, it is sent to Document Examination Centre for verification, and a report is sent to public prosecution.

Khaled AlMameri, certified passport examiner at GDRFA. KT Photo: Angel Tesorero
Khaled AlMameri, certified passport examiner at GDRFA. KT Photo: Angel Tesorero

Result in five minutes

Alnajjar confirmed that verification of a dubious passport is completed in five minutes.

GDRFA noted it is “one of the few entities globally with a specialised and accredited centre for document examination. Unlike most immigration departments worldwide that depend on criminal laboratories for inspections and audits, where processes can take days or weeks, Dubai Airports achieves this (passport verification) in a remarkably short time."

There are 1,500 passport control officers who take turns in handling entry and exit processes.

“These officers, often referred to as the first line of defence, are responsible for document verification. Additionally, there are 30 document examiners, known as the second line of defence, who perform detailed audits. All staff members are Emiratis,” GDRFA added.

Training of passport control officers. KT Photo: Angel Tesorero
Training of passport control officers. KT Photo: Angel Tesorero

Legal consequences

There are legal consequences for individuals found with forged or counterfeit travel documents.

“Those departing who are caught with such documents are referred to UAE judicial authorities, regardless of whether they were knowingly involved or were unwittingly deceived (in using fake passports). Individuals arriving with forged documents of passports are denied entry and promptly returned to their country or origin or relevant authorities,” GDRFA noted.

The GDRFA, however, also “implements special procedures that take into account humanitarian considerations, as some individuals were just unknowingly victims of criminal schemes."

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