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Digital Document Verification To Uncover Fake COVID-19 Results

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As COVID-19 continues to disrupt our lives, people are feeling the urge to spend time outside their homes. Fortunately, technology resumed some parts of our lives back to normal. This, however, prepared people to start taking flights to their new travel destinations. 

 

Due to new rules and regulations, travellers around the globe are required to show their COVID-19 test results before catching a flight. But passengers eager to fly across the border are using falsified coronavirus test results to bypass manual methods of test verification. Although, as news of fake COVID-19 tests are cropping up around the world, a sharp rise in recent arrests is suggesting significant possibility or error and human negligence, and that is the problem which currently needs to be addressed.

 

However, an industry-proven digital document verification solution can help airlines, airports, governments, and even passengers with safe and secure travel amidst COVID-19. The key benefit of document authentication methods provides the ability to ease up the process of validating documents by aviation authorities. It could ultimately help governments to cut massive time and cost with manual work. Through automation of passport verification and COVID-19 test results, passengers could not only experience ease in operations but also avoid standing in long queues. 

 

Moreover, the document verification solution would enable authorities to make informed decisions on whether a traveller can move further from a point of check-in. Although passengers without appropriate documents that might include a passport or real COVID-19 tests could be considered a high-risk. The document verification would ensure that fraudsters don’t make it through the airports. 

 

Moreover, the verification accuracy differs with each verification service provider.   

 

Experience Safe Travel  Through Digital Document Verification 

 

By incorporating digital document verification into existing security systems, authorities could minimize operational and technical expenses. This would ensure a contactless passenger journey and instil confidence in all stakeholders to start travelling again. Further, it would help authorities to verify the documents at the time of departure and arrival.   

 

Eliminate Risk of Onboarding Passengers With Fake Credentials 

 

Document verification is an intelligent feature that allows passengers to upload their required documents including COVID-19 test results. The AI-enabled feature analyses the document in real-time and provides verification status within a few seconds to determine the travel eligibility. 

 

OCR-engine integrated within the document verification quickly scans the entire document to ensure a high level of verification assurance. When the process ends, the document is either rejected or approved automatically to let passengers through the check-in counter. 

 

The end-user will only have to upload their COVID-19 test results and passport for verification. The verification results are sent to the client after the entire process is complete that helps them with the pre-completion of sign-up forms. 

 

Technology acts swiftly to accurately extract information from various document types and languages with complex characters. 

 

It ensures that only authorized people gain access while ensuring the information provided matches the test results and other required documents. 

 

Role of Facial Recognition Technology Coupled With Document Verification 

 

During the document verification process, AI-powered facial recognition also helps with identity verification and fraud detection in fake Covid-19 documents. Liveness detection integrated into facial recognition technology helps to ensure that a fraudster isn’t impersonating a real person. The verification checks incorporated within the technology also helps take down spoofing attacks. 

 

Validating Documents as Either Real OR Fake 

 

The software helps to differentiate any sort of fake, illegitimate or counterfeit documents. It’s proven to work more effectively than manual document verification. It can enable the travel authorities to reduce unnecessary efforts when customers try to onboard a flight. The software automatically requests to submit their COVID-related documents that are later analysed to grant passengers an access. 

 

Therefore, the software can effectively handle the rejection and approval of documents within seconds. Here are some document types that fraudsters use to bypass security measures; 

 

  • Illegitimate Document: These document types are almost fake, as most commonly they miss few characteristics such as missing holograms. However, such elements are essential to provide legitimacy to a document. 
  • False Document: This type of document belongs to someone else and bad actors might attempt to authenticate themselves. 
  • Modified Document: This is usually when the fraudster intentionally photoshops or introduces alternations in the document to bypass the system. 

 

Document authentication could save the travel industry and authorities operating in each country to reduce cost and increase efficiency.

 

Compliance With New Restrictions Amidst COVID-19

 

With new restrictions in place, authorities could face hefty fines or penalties if they are unsuccessful in catching people with fake COVID-19 test results. To avoid such fines, airport authorities are calling for strict measures to avoid loopholes during manual screening of passengers during airport check-ins. Real-time identity and document verification could be a valuable asset for countries to take malicious actors out of their system. 

 

To sum up, the document verification could essentially minimize the risk of fake credentials during passenger onboarding. Moreover, the control on COVID-19 pandemic is necessary and mandatory to return life to normal. As people are returning to their usual routine, AI-powered document verification solutions will leave no opportunity for imposters to fly over borders with submitting fake COVID-19 test results. Because authorities need to comply with regulations and passengers need a simple and easy onboarding experience. 

 

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Travel abroad is poised ‘for a big comeback’ in 2023 as Americans eye trips to Asia, Europe

Madison Franz

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Travel abroad is poised ‘for a big comeback’ in 2023 as Americans eye trips to Asia, Europe
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KEY POINTS
  • Thirty-one percent of Americans are more interested in international than domestic travel, according to a recent poll by tourism market research firm Destination Analysts.
  • Households are continuing to unleash two or three years’ worth of pent-up demand as Covid-19 fears wane and the last vestiges of pandemic-era border restrictions have eased.
  • Asia-Pacific is drawing particularly vigorous interest, although European destinations retain their popularity, too.

Americans are poised to travel overseas in a big way in 2023.

Households are continuing to unleash two or three years’ worth of pent-up demand as Covid-19 fears wane and the last vestiges of pandemic-era border restrictions have eased.

The U.S. dollar also remains relatively strong versus currencies like the euro, hybrid work yields more flexibility for big trips and some airlines have added new long-haul routes to overseas destinations, according to travel experts.

“The travel industry is just going gangbusters,” said Erin Florio, executive editor of Condé Nast Traveler.

Why travel abroad is poised ‘for a big comeback’

D3sign | Moment | Getty Images

Thirty-one percent of Americans are more interested in international than domestic travel, according to a recent poll by tourism market research firm Destination Analysts. That was a six-point increase from February and a year-to-date high, according to the survey, published in November.

Meanwhile, 62% of 2023 flight searches in the first week of December were for international destinations, up from 55% the same time last year, according to a recent Hopper report. It cited international travel among the top three trends for 2023, saying it’s poised “for a big comeback.”

Searches on Kayak for flights abroad are up 1.3% versus a year ago, according to company data as of Dec. 18. Those for domestic flights were down 13%.

Thailand will be a stand-out country in 2023, says economist

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Thailand will be a stand-out country in 2023, says economist
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In 2022, the share of international trips for which Americans bought travel insurance was on par with 2019 levels, the first time that had occurred in the pandemic era, according to data from online travel insurance marketplace Squaremouth. The trend has continued for trips booked for 2023.

American travelers largely stayed within U.S. borders in 2020 and 2021 amid health concerns and overseas Covid-related restrictions such as testing requirements, mandatory quarantines or outright bans on foreign tourists. Visits to U.S. national parks boomed and RV rentals soared as outdoor vacations offered the dual benefits of travel and relative virus safety.

Now, fear of the virus has waned. In September, the share of travelers unconcerned about contracting Covid surpassed those who are concerned, the first time that had happened in the pandemic era, according to Destination Analysts.

‘There’s a lot of pent-up travel demand’

Tower Bridge, London.
Tower Bridge, London.
Karl Hendon | Moment | Getty Images

2022 was also a year for more big trips abroad — but a spike in virus cases toward the end of 2021 and into the new year, fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant, somewhat dampened enthusiasm, experts said.

“There’s a lot of pent-up travel demand,” said Jessica Griscavage, a travel advisor and CEO of Runway Travel. “We missed travel for two to three years.”

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This so-called “revenge travel” trend — a term recently coined to describe burgeoning, pent-up wanderlust — coincides with looser health rules abroad and at home.

The U.S. dropped a Covid testing requirement for inbound air travelers from abroad in June. That rule, which also applied to U.S. citizens, mandated a negative test within a day of flying.

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Many countries had also fully closed their borders to foreign tourists. Now, most are again welcoming visitors — especially those with a Covid vaccine.

Fully vaccinated tourists can access 197 countries without Covid-19 testing or quarantine, and an additional 16 are open but require testing, according to Kayak data.

More Read: Visit

“We’re pretty much at a place where we can go anywhere,” Florio said.

Just 12 countries, including China, Libya, Turkmenistan and Yemen, are still closed to vaccinated Americans, according to Kayak.

Those traveling to Japan right now are 'mostly rich people,' says Japan Association of Travel Agents

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Those traveling to Japan right now are ‘mostly rich people,’ JATA says

Many countries have more restrictions in place for the unvaccinated. About 69% of Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends being up to date on vaccines before international travel.

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Many nations — including AustraliaBhutanIsraelJapanMalaysiaMoroccoNew Zealandthe Philippines and Singapore — eased border closures in 2022. Many European nations also dropped testing requirements for Americans. (Travelers should consult the U.S. State Department website for country-specific Covid restrictions.)

In addition, the pandemic-era surge in remote work has made “bucket-list trips more of an achievable reality,” said Nitya Chambers, executive editor and senior vice president of content at Lonely Planet.

Indeed, Hopper found 67% of travelers take trips more often and 20% travel farther away due to the flexibility of remote work.

Where travel is ramping up most

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Marty Windle | Moment | Getty Images

The Asia-Pacific region is poised for the biggest bounce in 2023 due to its broad reopening in the second half of 2022, travel experts said.

Japan has seen perhaps the biggest boost in interest, they said. The country re-opened its borders to travelers Oct. 11, with some remaining restrictions.

More Read: Visit

“You almost can’t talk about travel without the country of Japan being referenced for 2023,” Florio said, adding that Australia and New Zealand are also “massive.”

Asia has surged in demand the most of all regions, according to Hopper data, which shows 27% of international flight searches are to Asian cities versus 19% last year.

Indeed, eight of the top 10 trending international flight destinations in early December were within Asia and Oceania, Hopper said. Tokyo; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Bangkok were the top three, with airfare averaging around $1,200 per round trip ticket.

Bangkok, Thailand.
Bangkok, Thailand.
Pakin Songmor | Moment | Getty Images

G Adventures, an international tour operator, has seen 2023 sales swell most for Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, said managing director Ben Perlo. This November was a record overall month for the company; sales for the three Asian nations each surpassed their November 2019 numbers, he said.

However, Europe has remained the most popular destination in terms of total volume, with European cities capturing a third of all international flight searches, about the same as 2021, Hopper said.

Long-term rentals (those 28 days or longer) have “become substantially more popular in Asia-Pacific compared to a year ago,” according to an AirBnb spokesperson. Most long-term stays are in Europe and North America, though.

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Major European hubs were among the top searched this year through Sept. 30, according to Google Flights data. London ranked No. 1, followed by Paris (No. 3), Rome (No. 6) and Lisbon (No. 9). Ho Chi Minh City was No. 2, while other Asian cities like Delhi and Mumbai also ranked highly (No. 4 and 7, respectively).

We’re pretty much at a place where we can go anywhere.

Italy, the U.K. and France ranked a respective first, third and fifth among top foreign destinations in 2023, according to a recent Destination Analysts poll. (Canada, Mexico and Japan ranked second, fourth and sixth, respectively.)

“Everybody wants to go to Europe,” said Griscavage. “It was a destination everyone missed through the pandemic.”

Due to the demand, people have gotten more “creative” on how to travel to Europe, she added. Many are opting for the typically less busy (and less costly) shoulder season, perhaps as early as March or in the late fall, Griscavage said.

More Read: Visit

Global demand for travel has played out similarly, with most interest directed at Europe and Asia, according to Expedia data. Edinburgh, Scotland, and Sydney, Australia, rank No. 1 and 6 partly due to respective major events like the Fringe, the world’s largest arts and media festival, and WorldPride, Expedia said.

Economic concerns, inflation ‘aren’t stopping people’

Edinburgh, Scotland.
Edinburgh, Scotland.
Joe Daniel Price | Moment | Getty Images

This isn’t all to say travel is without headwinds, though. Value has been of particular concern for travelers, whose budgets have been stressed by high inflation. Overall prices for airline fares and hotels are up 36% and 3%, respectively, in the past year, according to the consumer price index.

International trips are poised to be more expensive next year, Hopper said, despite signals from the consumer price index that airfare, hotel and rental car prices have been trending downward in recent months. The desire to travel abroad has swelled through 2022 despite these economic anxieties, said Destination Analysts.

The euro has been trading at historically weak levels against the U.S. dollar, meaning Americans have been able to get bargains when booking travel to countries like France, Germany, Italy and Portugal. That dynamic is likely driving at least part of the popularity, Perlo said. (The euro has strengthened a bit in recent weeks, though.)

“The economy right now and prices aren’t stopping people from traveling,” Chambers said. “People have been home, they want to get back out there, they have a list of things they want to experience and they’re doing that.”

More Read: Visit

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How to Become a Certified Flight Instructor

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Becoming a certified flight instructor is a rewarding career that combines a passion for aviation with a challenging career. As a flight instructor, you will be responsible for training student pilots who will one day become commercial, instrument, or multiengine pilots. As a flight instructor, you will have the opportunity to build hundreds of hours of flying experience, which is valuable for your professional development as a pilot. You can even turn your passion for flying into a lucrative profession.

There are two levels of certification. Obtaining a flight instructor certificate is required for commercial pilots. To earn a certificate as a flight instructor, you must have a commercial pilot license in a light-air aircraft. The FAA has specific requirements for becoming a flight instructor. To become a flight instructor, you must pass a practical exam.

The most common reason to become a CFI is to build flight time. Since most aviation jobs require a minimum amount of flight time, most candidates choose to teach flight training to build their hours. The teaching aspect of the job allows them to build their experience steadily while reinforcing the knowledge they learned during flight training. Additionally, flight instructors become knowledgeable pilots who are endorsed by other pilots to take practical tests.

After completing the ground school, applicants will undergo a comprehensive training program, which covers ground school fundamentals and flight instructor aeronautical knowledge. During this course, candidates will spend a considerable amount of time self-studying and teaching other students. They must be capable of providing safe flight instruction to their student pilots. The CFI course is designed to make this transition as seamless as possible for all participants.

The CFII flight rating enables instructors to teach students who are working towards an instrument rating. In addition to training students to earn their instrument rating, they may hold privileges of other instructor ratings. For example, a CFII can teach students how to fly an aircraft with a multi-engine or instrument rating. These two ratings are the highest in the aviation industry and are responsible for teaching student pilots.

A certified flight instructor can also become a seasoned instrument flying instructor. Instrument flying instruction is challenging and rewarding, but it does require a lot of work. The CFI training includes a knowledge test that covers instrument flying basics and flight procedures. There is also an exam known as the FAA checkride, which requires the student to answer questions related to the principles of learning. Practicing in a simulator is a great way to prepare for the checkride.

An instrument-rated flight instructor must have a flight instructor certificate and have at least 200 hours of experience teaching pilots. A flight instructor’s privileges are further restricted by the Federal Aviation Regulations. For example, flight instructors who teach in a flight school under 14 CFR parts 141 and 142 may require specialized authorization from the local controlling agency. The certification process can be arduous, but the rewards will be well worth it.

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US H-1B visa, green card process to get easier, Indians to benefit

Madison Franz

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US H-1B visa, green card process to get easier, Indians to benefit
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The White House is looking into a presidential commission’s recommendations to cut the processing time for Green Card applications to just six months and to clear the backlogs by April 2023 in a move that could help hundreds of thousands of immigrant families, especially those from China and India.

The President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders released its inaugural report on Friday. The report was approved on May 12 and transmitted to the President on August 24 and the White House Domestic Policy Council is currently reviewing its recommendations before they can sent to President Joe Biden for his decision.

The report states because of COVID-19-related closures and staffing limitations as well as the continued effect of the 2017 travel bans, processing green cards up to the annual cap has been difficult.

It recommends that the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) facility should hire additional officers to increase its capacity to process Green Card application interviews by 100 percent in three months from August 2022, and by increasing Green Card applications and visa interviews and adjudicate decisions by 150 percent by April 2023, and reduce the current backlog by the end of 2023.

The committee said in the report that Green Card visa interviews and visa processing timelines should be limited to a targeted goal of six months.Green Card visa interviews and visa processing timelines should be limited to a targeted goal of six months

The commission recommends to reduce the agency’s pending family-based Green Card backlog, US Citizenship and Immigration Services should review their processes, systems, and policies and establish new internal cycle time goals by streamlining processes, removing redundant steps, if any, and automating any manual approvals.

It says this should improve its internal dashboards and reporting system, and enhance policies to reduce the cycle time for processing all forms related to family-based Green Card applications

Family reunification has been delayed for years due to an increase in family-based immigration backlogs over the past three decades.

The report states that out of the 226,000 green cards available, only 65,452 family-based preference green cards were issued in FY 2021.

“If there is a query or more information is needed, USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and the Department of State (DOS) shall continue to process the applications outside the six-month goal and adjudicate decisions in a timely fashion,”

“If an application is not completed in six months, then it will not be terminated and will continue to be processed in a timely fashion ongoing,”, the report states.

The recommendations also include adjudicating requests for temporary work programmes, such as the H-1B and H-2A visas for agricultural workers within a span of two months extending the period of work permit extension to 365 days instead of the current 180 days.

A green card is a Permanent Resident Card issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently while the H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to hire foreign workers for specialized positions that call for theoretical or technical expertise.

If accepted and implemented the recommendations could be a big relief to immigrant families especially from India and China.

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