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Home / News / India /  PNR details of foreign travellers to be shared with custom; All you need to know
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The Indian government has asked airlines to mandatorily share PNR details of passengers with customs authorities 24 hours before the departure of international flights. According to the Ministry of Finance, the new rules are meant to enhance the detection and investigative capabilities of Customs Authorities using non-intrusive techniques for combating offences related to smuggling of contraband such as narcotics gold, arms & ammunition, etc.

Under the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Information Regulations, 2022, airlines are responsible for submitting passenger data in a specified format to the National Customs Targeting Centre - Passenger.

In case an airline fails to submit the PNR details of an international air traveller with the custom, then they will attract a penalty of up to 50,000.

Here are the salient points about this new regulation:

1. The regulations require the airline to transmit specified information electronically to the designated Customs System. Passengers are not required to individually submit any information to Customs.

2. The data exchange between the Airlines and the Customs Systems is through the PNRGOV EDIFACT message format. This is a standard electronic message format endorsed jointly by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and is widely used internationally.

3. Although some data elements included in the Regulations are available from other sources, the objective of these regulations is to obtain this data in advance of departure or arrival of the passengers for analytics by the Customs Risk Management System, the Finance Ministry said.

4. The Ministry assured that the information collected is subject to strict information privacy and data protection.

5. Passengers must note that the processing of the information to reveal ethnicity, race, religious or philosophical beliefs, health, etc. is strictly prohibited. The information received is used for further processing only by a senior officer of the rank of Principal Additional Director General/Additional Director General, it added.

6. In a normal course, the data collected is stored only for five years after which it is disposed of by depersonalisation or anonymisation. The Regulations provide for an extensive and independent system audit and security audit to prevent misuse of the information.

With this, India joins 60 other countries that collect PNR details of international passengers.Airlines at present are required to share passenger information limited to name, nationality, and passport detail in advance with the immigration authorities.

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