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Obligation of air carriers to communicate passenger data

This Directive requires air carriers to collect and transmit passenger data to the authorities of the Member State of destination responsible for control. Non-compliance may lead to fines being imposed and even, in the case of serious infringement, confiscation of the means of transport or withdrawal of the operating licence.


Council Directive 2004/82/EC of 29 April 2004 on the obligation of carriers to communicate passenger data.


According to this Directive, air carriers * are required to communicate information concerning their passengers travelling to a European Union (EU) border crossing *. This information is supplied, at the request of the authorities responsible for carrying out checks * on persons at the external borders * of the EU, to improve border control and to combat illegal immigration more effectively.

These data are forwarded to these authorities for passenger registration purposes. In principle they are transmitted electronically to these authorities.

Carriers are required to transmit the following information: number and type of travel document used, nationality, name and date of birth of the passenger, border crossing point of entry into the EU, departure and arrival time of the transportation, total number of passengers carried.

In principle, these data are deleted by these authorities within 24 hours of transmission, provided that the passengers have arrived within the territory of the Member States. The personal data are deleted by the carrier within 24 hours of arrival of the means of transport.

Member States must adopt dissuasive, effective and proportionate sanctions, should carriers fail to comply with this obligation. Such sanctions are applicable to carriers which, as a result of fault, have not transmitted data or have transmitted incomplete or false data. The maximum amount of these sanctions is not less than EUR 5000 and their minimum amount is not less than EUR 3000 for each journey.

Member States may also provide for other types of sanctions in the event of serious infringement of the communication requirement. These sanctions may consist of:

  • immobilisation, seizure and confiscation of the means of transport;
  • temporary suspension or even withdrawal of the carrier's operating licence.

Carriers may appeal against measures imposed against them. Member States adopt all the necessary measures for this right of appeal to be effective.


This Directive was adopted following a request by the European Council of 25 and 26 March 2004, which met following the terrorist attacks in Madrid. The obligations provided for in this Directive are complementary to those laid down by Article 26 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, as supplemented by Council Directive 2001/51/EC, concerning the obligation of carriers to return third-country nationals who are refused entry by the Member State of destination.

Key terms used in the act

  • Carrier: any natural or legal person whose occupation it is to provide passenger transport by air.
  • External borders: external borders of the Member States with third countries.
  • Border control: check carried out at a border exclusively on account of crossing that border.
  • Border crossing point: any crossing point authorised by the competent authorities for crossing external borders.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2004/82/EC



OJ L 261 of 6.8.2004

Last updated: 24.08.2008