What’s in a (passenger) name (card)?



Those forms that you complete entering and exiting Australia may seem innocuous, but are extremely important, especially for visa applicants. They are called Passenger Cards or Passenger Name Records (PNR) and there are two types: incoming and outgoing.  These cards play an extremely important part of not only the migration process, but now, several government departments have access to the information that is given.

  • PNR data may include any of the following information:
  • PNR locator code
  • passenger name(s)
  • passport number
  • nationality
  • details of travel companions
  • frequent flyer information
  • ticketing information: date of reservation/issue of ticket; itinerary and alterations made to booking
  • contact information, including travel agent details
  • payments/billing
  •  travel status of passenger (including confirmations and check-in status)
  • special request/service information
  • all baggage information (number and weight of bags)
  • seat allocation(s)
  • all historical changes to the above PNR.

Specifically to migration,  Section 102 the Migration Act requires that passenger cards be filled out in full and correctly. Failure to comply with this provision provides grounds for visa cancellation. There is a rise in decisions to refuse partner visas on the basis of the PNR’s and passenger cards.   

Where case officers are suspicious about the genuineness of a partner relationship they often check passenger cards to see if the addresses given by parties, when travelling, match the addresses given in the visa application. The latest case at the Tribunal was 1314993[2015] MRTA 13 (16 January 2015). The tribunal affirmed the decision of the case officer to refuse the partner visa based on contradicting evidence given on the passenger cards.

Next time you travel, make sure that you are completing your cards correctly.

Case link: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/MRTA/2015/13.html