Passport screening. Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: Stringent digital screening systems in Dubai are successfully weeding out forged passports and stemming the entry of unwanted criminals and undesirables in the country, said officials on Tuesday.

For example, a total of 1,043 forged travel documents were discovered at Dubai International Airport in 2018.

Expert Aqil Ahmad Al Najjar, a consultant who works with the Document Examination Centre at the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai), said no effort is spared to screen all passports entering Dubai to ensure the UAE’s security.

Using latest high-level technology and a vast digital data base, examination centre staff can detect even the most proficiently forged passports, he said.

“We use [the] latest technology to detect forged documents, to identify violators and wanted people on arrivals [by] checking the means of guarantee in the document or identity. All the means to guarantee documents, passports and global identities are already stored in our database,” Al Najjar said.

He said that the centre receives multiple forged documents every day from a wide array pf nationalities but most of them are easy to detect.


“The quality of forgery varies from case to case. Some people use fraud to mislead the security authorities and change the data to enter the country illegally. There are many types of forged travel documents including forging the data page and personal photo of the passport by removing the original page issued by the passport and replacing it with a new data page and image.”

Another type of forgery is called “impersonation” as the passport used by someone other than the original owner.

Meanwhile, GDRFA has identified cases of forged identity, residence ID and driver licences for other countries.

“Some people who came on transit to travel to other countries without visa, present fake identity or residence cards. We sent the traveller[s] back immediately to the country from which they travelled,” Al Najjar added.

How they do it

About 1,700 passport control officers at the airport have had training that enable them to identify forged passports quickly and efficiently through the “Retro-Check” device, which detect the document protection signs which are the guarantee thread, colour and phosphoric fibres, phosphoric inks, watermark, and microscopic print, as some information is read only through ultraviolet radiation.