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What should travelers do if they get stopped at airports for sharing the same name as a criminal?

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Dec 23, 2023 1:11 pm

Just imagine: you're all packed and prepared for your dream vacation and are ready to board the plane when you're suddenly stopped by security because you share the same name as a person with a criminal case.

Being namesakes with a criminal is already bad enough, but it's even worse if it turns out that you both reside in the same area. This can raise even more red flags to the security officer at the airport, leading you to be labeled as a flight risk, or someone who is likely to flee an area or country to avoid criminal prosecution.

This can result in you being withheld and having your flight delayed until it is sufficiently proven that your identity is entirely separate from the person who has a criminal case.

If you have any doubts about possibly being mistaken for someone with a foul reputation, especially if your name isn't all that unique, then it's best to prepare the necessary solutions to avoid these troublesome situations.

What can you do?

Even if you are unfortunate enough to share the exact same name as a criminal, there are documents that you can bring to prove you are not a flight risk.

You can apply for a Certification for Not the Same Person (NTSP) at the Bureau of Immigration (BI). As detailed on their website, this certificate is for those who are attesting to the fact that they are not the same person listed or included in the derogatory database or record of the airport.

You can apply for the document at the BI's main office, which is located in Intramuros in Metro Manila. Keep in mind that you must bring with you two forms: the CCS-C-NTSP-2016 or the Request for Certificate of NTSP and the CCS-A-NTSP-2016 or the Application Form for Request for Certificate of NTSP.

To apply, you must fill out the form and submit it with all the other supporting documents. According to the Department of Justice, these include a duly notarized letter-request, an affidavit of denial, a photocopy of a valid passport’s biopage, an NBI clearance, and a clearance from court of appropriate government agency.

Once you have secured all of these, you must then wait for the issuance of an Order of Payment Slip and pay the corresponding fees. The NTSP costs P540.

Afterwards, you must submit the accomplished application form with the required attachments and attach original official receipts. 

Once this is done, you must present the claim stub on the appointed date and time of return to receive the original certification and acknowledge the receipt by signing the duplicate copy of the certification.

While this may be an infuriating process, there's not much else you can do but to comply and be prepared so as to not compromise the airport's security measures.

As former BI commissioner Siegfred Mison stressed as per ABS-CBN, "We cannot just delete the names in our derogatory database because it would allow the actual person with the hit to freely enter and exit the country."

"Many people have common names, there are, for example, a lot of Juan Dela Cruz in the country. Instead of checking and verifying with all stakeholders, the NTSP would, at one glance, immediately tell us that this Juan Dela Cruz is not the one in our record, thus making processing faster," he added.