As a lawyer, understanding the intricacies of verifying important documents is vital to the legal profession. One such document that frequently requires verification is a passport. Passports are critical identification and travel documents; verifying their authenticity is crucial in various legal contexts. This blog post will explore the passport verification process, the entities authorised to perform this task, and the legal implications involved.
The Importance of Passport Verification:
Passport verification is essential to ensure the legitimacy of an individual's identity and travel history. Lawyers encounter situations where verifying a passport becomes necessary, such as during standard onboarding proceedings and more complex situations, such as; immigration matters, international legal transactions, or cross-border legal proceedings. Accurate verification is essential to maintain legal processes' integrity and protect against fraud, identity theft, and other potential risks such as money laundering and terrorist financing.
Government authorities, such as passport offices, immigration departments, and consular offices, are the primary entities that verify passports. They possess the necessary infrastructure, expertise, and database access to authenticate passports and confirm individuals’ identity and travel history. Mainly the UK government which can be found here.
Notary publics appointed by the government are authorised to verify certain documents, including passports. They verify the passport holder's identity by comparing it with other valid identification documents and may also administer oaths or affirmations related to passport verification.
In some jurisdictions, lawyers who meet specific criteria and obtain certification may be authorised to verify passports. This allows lawyers to fulfil their professional responsibilities while offering convenience to their clients, particularly when legal services and passport verification are required simultaneously.
Lawyers may encounter scenarios where they must verify a client's passport to ensure accurate representation. We at Validient offer services that use biometric facial recognition to verify a client's identity and screen for any sanctions or PEPs as it may be necessary to confirm the authenticity of a client’s passport to validate their identity and immigration status.
In business and domestic transactions, lawyers often engage in due diligence processes to verify the authenticity of the involved parties. Part of this process may include confirming the validity of passports to ensure compliance with regulations and prevent potential fraud or illegal activities such as financial crimes and terrorist financing. We at Validient offer proof of funds checks to ensure the source of income for transactions is legitimate. Our product operates at the highest level of due diligence.
The legal implications of not following due diligence when verifying a client's identity can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific industry involved. However, in general, failing to conduct proper due diligence can lead to several legal consequences, including:
Validient is a digital client onboarding and ongoing monitoring solution that operates at the highest level of due diligence; not only do we speed up onboarding and identify verification, but we significantly reduce the cost. It is required by law to report suspicious activity when suspected fraud.
The process of passport verification typically involves several steps:
Lawyers verifying passports should conduct a physical examination of the document. They must ensure the passport contains appropriate security features, such as holograms, watermarks, and embedded microchips. Any signs of tampering or alterations must be thoroughly examined.
Lawyers should compare the passport's information with other valid identification documents, such as driver's licenses, national identification cards, or birth certificates. This comparison helps verify the accuracy and consistency of the personal information provided.
If any doubts arise during the verification process, lawyers should contact the government authorities responsible for issuing passports. They can confirm the passport's validity, verify the traveller’s identity and travel history, and provide additional information if necessary.
We have written another blog about checking the legitimacy of a passport here.
Passport verification plays a pivotal role in various legal scenarios. Lawyers must clearly understand the entities authorised to verify passports and the steps involved in the verification process. By ensuring the authenticity of passports, lawyers can maintain the integrity of legal proceedings, safeguard their client’s interests, and contribute to a more secure legal environment.
Passport verification is a complex and evolving field, subject to legal regulations and specific jurisdictional. At Validient, we utilise advanced and accurate identity checks, meaning you no longer need to worry about uncertain manual checks. Try our platform today for free and see for yourself.