If you're going to US, don't change dates -- USI

Claire Murphy

SOME students on J1 visas in America have been arrested for attempting to modify the date of birth on their passports, it has been claimed.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) said they were aware that several students had been arrested while trying to travel or gain entry into licensed premises with falsified documents.

Tampering with or falsifying a passport is a criminal offence in Ireland and in the US it is treated as a federal offence.

The legal age for drinking alcohol and for entry to licensed premises in the US is 21, but thousands of Irish students leave for America between the ages of 18 and 21.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said that passports would be compromised even if the fake laminated sheet has been removed, because of the damage caused in placing it there.

USI president Gary Redmond warned students that they faced being sent to prison, fined or deported by US authorities.

A number of bars and nightclubs have already introduced zero tolerance measures, seizing the passport and bringing its holder to the attention of local law enforcement agencies.