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Migration and Home Affairs

Evaluation of the EU policy on Advance Passenger Information (API)

Date of roadmap: 4/12/2018

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has reported 4.3 billion passengers globally carried by air transport on schedule services in 2018, a 6.1% increase over 2017. It is estimated that the global volume of air passengers grows at a rate between 5% and 7% every year and could reach 7.2 billion by 2036. This continuous growth requires therefore measures aiming at speeding up border checks and combatting irregular immigration, like the processing of Advance Passenger Information (API).

API data is information on passengers (usually contained in travel documents like passports and identity cards) collected by air carriers during check-in and transmitted by these carriers after check-in closure to the border control authorities of the country of destination. These authorities screen the passengers while in-flight; border checks for travellers of good faith are therefore expedited upon arrival, while more resources and time can be spent to identify travellers who need further investigation. Consequently, API enables a risk-based data-driven approach to border security.

In the EU, Council Directive 2004/82/EC on the obligation of carriers to communicate passenger data ('API Directive') regulates the collection and transmission of API data.

The Commission has launched an evaluation process of the API Directive in the light of its objectives, which are to combat irregular immigration and to improve border control. As the API Directive allows using API data also for law enforcement purposes, the evaluation will also assess to what extent the API Directive has been effective in supporting law enforcement authorities in EU Member States.

In accordance with the Better Regulation Guidelines, the evaluation requires to assess whether the EU policy on API responds to the needs of its stakeholders (Relevance), achieves its objectives and deliver results (Effectiveness), in a cost-effective manner (Efficiency), is coherent with other policy and/or programme interventions in related areas (Coherence) and brings value that cannot be delivered by Member States acting alone (EU added value).

In more concrete terms, the evaluation will:

  1. analyse the compliance and the quality of the transposition of the API Directive by the EU Member States;
  2. evaluate the functioning of the API Directive at the light of the five criteria identified above;
  3. make recommendations on the need for new measures.

The results of the evaluation will be used to assess whether a possible revision of the API Directive could be necessary.


Roadmap for this initiative

The Roadmap published in December 2018 serves to inform stakeholders and citizens about how the Commission intends to carry out the evaluation of the Directive.

Public consultation

A Public Consultation was carried out as part of the evaluation. It was launched on 10 September 2019  on the European Commission's website and was open until 3 December. As such, the public consultation formed part of the inputs for the evaluation of the API Directive.

Documents in relation to this consultation

Documents relating to the evaluation

Reference documents

EU legislation applicable to information on passengers

First evaluation of the API Directive

International instruments, guidelines and standards on passenger information