The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has warned Irish students, who have obtained J1 working visas or US travel visas, not to travel on modified passports.

 

USI has learned that some Irish students, particularly those living and working in the United States for the summer, have been placing laminates on their passports’ details page in order to change their date of birth and make themselves appear older.

It should be noted that this laminate is easily detectable by border control officers and other personnel, inspecting travel documents.  The attachment of this laminate to passports compromises that travel document. Furthermore, its removal will cause irreparable damage.  

USI has recently been made aware of several students, who have been arrested while trying to travel or gain entry into licensed premises with these modified documents.

Students should be warned that falsifying or altering a passport is a criminal offence in Ireland but in the US, it is a federal offence, punishable by fine, imprisonment 

and/or refusal of future entry to America.

Accordingly, individuals who have attached a laminate to their passport, or have altered details on their passport in some other way, are strongly advised not to travel on the document and to have it replaced immediately, even if they believe they have successfully reversed the modification.

USI is urging any student, who has placed a laminate on their passport, to contact their nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate immediately to arrange a replacement. 

A list of contact details can be found on the following webpage: http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=5535.

USI President, Gary Redmond, said:

“Obviously our main concern is ensuring that students enjoy their experiences abroad, but return home safely. Therefore, USI is advising any student, who may have attached laminates to their passports, or modified their travel documents in any way, to take immediate action to obtain a replacement passport.

Students may have modified their passports in order to make themselves appear older for the purposes of accessing licensed premises. If a students tries to travel on a modified passport it will be detected by customs officials even if the laminate has been removed and the student believes that they have reversed the modification.

Modifying a passport is a criminal offence both in Ireland and the US, if you are caught with a modified passport it will jeopardise your future travel plans and may limit future career choices.

I would strongly urge all students to cease using the modified documents immediately and have their passport replaced without delay. I would also encourage anyone with family and friends abroad to make sure that they are aware of this potentially serious issue and to ensure that they take appropriate action without delay.”