Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD has welcomed the warning issued by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) on the emerging problem of passports being modified by students travelling in America on J1 working visas or travel visas.
Deputy Ó Fearghaíl said: “This warning by USI should be heeded and I would be calling on parents here of students already in the US this summer to make sure they are aware of the consequences of altering their passports in any way. The USI says it’s aware that some students have placed laminates on their passports’ details page to change their date of birth and increase their age. I am extremely concerned that USI is aware of several arrests for this already.
“Any kind of forging of travel documents is an extremely serious offence but in America it is a federal offence and the penalties can be very severe.
“Not alone could someone find themselves with a criminal record and potential prison sentence or hefty fine but offenders may not be allowed travel to the US in the future.
“I am urging any student who has already modified their passport not to use it in any way and to have it replaced immediately by contacting an Irish embassy or consulate in the US, a list of which can be found here http://bit.ly/oEOKtc,” concluded Deputy Ó Fearghaíl.