INTERPOL Travel Document initiative
INTERPOL has developed its first ever travel documents (e-Passport Booklet and e-Identification Card). These are intended to enable INTERPOL officials, chiefs of law enforcement agencies, heads of National Central Bureaus and staff to travel internationally on official INTERPOL business without requiring a visa when assisting in transnational investigations or urgent deployments.
Facing today's challenges
The crossing of international borders by law enforcement officials is a necessary reality in combating today’s global security challenges.
INTERPOL operates in a world transformed by the transport and Internet revolutions. Whilst largely beneficial, these changes have also facilitated globalized crime, with international criminals exploiting technological advances to further their activities.
One of the most significant hurdles faced by international law enforcement officials in the fight against international crime is the lack of speed and ease with which assistance can be provided to those countries requesting it.
Indeed, when an affected country requests assistance, it can take anything from 24 hours to eight weeks for law enforcement personnel to be issued with visas and arrive at the scene.
“Criminals can cross borders swiftly and effortlessly, while our Heads of National Central Bureaus, law enforcement colleagues and even our General Secretariat staff are slowed down or stopped because of legitimate but time consuming visa requirements and bureaucratic international red tape, which constitutes a major impediment to keeping the world safe.” Ronald K. Noble, INTERPOL Secretary General.
Speeding up INTERPOL’s response
It was with this need in mind that in 2009 the INTERPOL Executive Committee approved a proposal to create a special INTERPOL Travel Document that would enable authorized INTERPOL personnel travelling on official INTERPOL-related business to enter member countries whenever and wherever needed.
Member countries ratified this initiative at the 79th session of the INTERPOL General Assembly in Qatar, November 2010, opening the way for the use of a new police cooperation tool, and greater inter-state cooperation.
The INTERPOL Travel Document bypasses the lengthy visa requirements set by member countries, allowing quick entry to law enforcement officials. Member countries make this possible by bilaterally agreeing to assign specially derived visa statuses for INTERPOL Travel Document holders. This allows member countries to choose which arrangements suit them when granting special visa statuses to INTERPOL Travel Document holders.
Making the world safer
With the INTERPOL Travel Document, those acting on behalf of the global law enforcement community via INTERPOL are able to respond to a country’s request for assistance with minimal impediments.
Granting the INTERPOL Travel Document special visa status will help law enforcement officers from INTERPOL member countries and the General Secretariat make the world a safer place.
Official recognition from 43 member countries
Member countries have shown great interest in this initiative with several already according a special visa status to INTERPOL Travel Document holders and many others seeking more information as to how they can support the initiative in their own countries.
Currently, 43 member countries have already accepted the INTERPOL travel document in both its forms (e-Passport Booklet and/or e-Identification Card) to be used in conjunction with a valid national passport.
A further 120 countries are also in the process of recognizing these documents within the limits of their national laws.
The member countries that have already accepted the INTERPOL Travel Document are: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Belarus, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina-Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, France, Georgia, Guinea, Jordan, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Monaco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Uruguay, and Yemen.
Ralph Markert, General Project Manager, INTERPOL Travel Document Initiative
INTERPOL Travel Document in International Publications
- ITD Publication Montenegro Police Magazine - Jan-March 2012
- SEPCA – Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (April 2012) - April 2012
- Keesing Journal of Documents & Identity – Issue 34 - 2011
- Global Identification Magazine – October 2011
- Airport Focus International – Issue 5 – October 2011
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), MRTD Report – November 2010