The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will soon soft launch the implementation of the Advance Passenger Processing (APP), a more secure and faster way of processing arriving passengers at the international airports in the country.

This would allow immigration officers to have a copy of the manifesto in advance, knowing the passengers’ profile even if they are still onboard their flight.

“We are waiting for an EO (executive order) from the President to compel airlines and other agencies to transmit advance passenger information to our system. We could soft launch the APP either this December or by January since we have a Department Order,” BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina said.

To implement the APP, the country needs to have an Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) wherein data includes passenger details and basic flight information.

Currently, airlines provide BI a hard copy of the manifesto upon arrival.

The BI has been allocating a budget for an API since 2013, Medina said.

“This (APIS) would let us know in advance if there’s an arriving passenger whose name would ‘hit’ our records. Our database is connected 24/7 with the Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization),” he said, adding that the APIS would enable them to get the data days or hours before the flights.

If someone has a criminal record in another country, or if he or she is a suspect terrorist, his or her name would automatically hit the immigration system.

“As such, our officers could watch out or wait for that passenger,” he added.

Both local and foreign carriers are required to conform once the country implements the APP, Medina said.

The EO, he reiterated, would compel airlines and other concerned agencies such as the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Transportation, airlines, to comply with the APP implementation.

“They (foreign carriers) are excited, because that would mean their passengers would be processed faster,” he said.

“The immigration line would be cut short since we would no longer have to process (in the regular counter) someone who has records. Imagine if we have to ask that passenger with lots of questions, those behind him or her in the line would be affected,” he said.

There are about 100 countries implementing the APP. (PNA)