This may sound like a very bizarre question, but today while entering Turkey at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, I was using my UK Residence Permit as an entry requirement (since Indian passport holders need to have a US/UK/Schengen visa or residence permit to enter Turkey with an e-visa). I have entered Turkey with a US visa on my passport many times before and never had an issue. This time, I used my UK biometric residence permit card for entry, and the immigration officer dropped it on his desk trying to bounce the card. I found it very bizarre, since I was unaware what he was trying to do, but it seemed like he was doing that to test for its authenticity. Does anyone have any idea why that would be the case?

Also, more info on the residence permit card: it's a credit card size plastic card that is a regular EU standardised residence permit cards. It has a machine readable information strip on its back, and is biometric. The image below shows a German equivalent of the same card.

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    Wild guess: they may have encountered fake ones that bounce differently. Or sound different when they hit the desk. Or come apart when they hit the desk.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 2:49
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    Indeed they do it to check authenticity. As I'm Swedish but do not look Nordic, I've had that happen to me in the UK, Kosovo, Turkey and Georgia.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 3:28
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    Speculation: the point is not to test how it bounces. The test is to see how you react. If you know your ID is not genuine, this unusual test might trigger a nervous response.
    – MSalters
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 9:59
  • That could be true as well. Though what's surprising is that my regular non biometric passport has never been subjected to any serious investigation in any country ever (other than the regular put it under a UV light test).
    – crayarikar
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 18:41

1 Answer 1


UK biometric residence permits are made of polycarbonate (pdf).

Bouncing the card helps to determine whether it is made of the correct material, which is stiffer and harder than many plastics. Whether the criterion is the nature of the bounce itself, or the sound it makes, or something else, I do not know.

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    This is actually quite a revelation to me. However, is such a qualitative test at immigration really useful at all, or, further, are the officially allowed at immigration since there's no way to calculate their rate of success?
    – crayarikar
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 9:13
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    @crayarikar If it doesn't feel right they can go on to testing other security features. To be fair to them, every time someone hands you a banknote in change, if it feels wrong to the touch you are likely to inspect it very closely.
    – richardb
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 9:29
  • @crayarikar This is not unique to immigrations. In my US state, drivers licenses are made of a thinner, more flexible plastic than usual, so people serving alcohol are trained to bend the corners. For reference, cards made from thermal printers (ID badges) are PVC.
    – user71659
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 16:31

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