I was watching a UK Border Patrol episode on youtube (relevant bit is at 9:01) where the customs agents at Heathrow confiscated a relative's genuine passport from a Bolivian traveler because the relative was not traveling at the time.

The customs officials did a check and found the passport was genuine. Despite this they decided to confiscate it and hand it over to the local Bolivian embassy.

To my understanding the passport is the property of the other nation, and cannot be confiscated without strong justification. The traveler was not even penalized or cautioned, which strengthens my feeling that it was not illegal to carry the passport.

Finally since the passport-holder might be subject to censure or penalties from their home country (Bolivia in this case) for an incident involving their passport, it seems to me to be an overreach by customs.

  • Do customs usually confiscate passports they find with another traveller, when the passport-owner is not travelling?
  • Is there absolutely no valid reason to carry a non-traveling person's passport?

Would be grateful if someone could shed light on any experiences with travelling with someone else's passport where this has come to the notice of customs.

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    – JoErNanO
    Jul 6, 2021 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


It's like the police finding you are carrying someone else's credit card. Or driving another person's car. They'll start asking questions. In the case of a passport I guess the easiest way to deal with it is to send it to its owner (passports are the property of the issuing country).

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