Five European countries have been warned to clamp down on the fake passport trade or lose visa-free ESTA travel to America, sources say.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is said to have issued warnings to Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and Greece after two bombers from the Paris terrorist attacks were found to have stolen passports.
It comes as security officials from Homeland Security and Interpol saw a worrying rise in the number of stolen passports being reported.
The system allows citizens of 38 countries access to the United States for tourism or business without a visa.
More than 34 million lost or stolen European travel documents are known to the authorities, but the true number is likely to be far higher.
The website cited Greek officials who admitted five to seven per cent of their passports could have been produced with the help of forged identity paperwork.
Some of the members of the Paris gang are known to have travelled around Europe on Belgian passports in the months prior to the attack.
The report is evidence of a potential contagion effect from the migration crisis. Any action by the US to restrict visa-free travel could result in tit-for-tat retaliation.
The are feared to be travelling on fake Syrian or Iraqi passports which are now so sophisticated it is almost impossible to distinguish between genuine refugees and terror suspects.
A senior British intelligence official said: “Islamic State is skilfully exploiting the migrant crisis to smuggle terror cells from Syria into major European countries such as the UK. Jihadis travel to Raqqa to meet up with commanders, where they receive training and new passports.
“They then make their way back to Europe posing as migrants with new identities, making it virtually impossible for security officials to detect potential terrorists among those fleeing persecution.”
Isil is thought to have taken control of thousands of blank Syrian passports, as well as printing machines, during its takeover of government buildings. They are also easily available in Turkey for those attempting to travel to Greece.
“Daesh has managed to seize passports in Iraq, Syria and Libya and to set up a true industry of fake passports,” said Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, this week.
Interpol has data on 250,000 stolen Iraqi and Syrian passports, a problem which enables organised crime and terrorism, but is hard to address in areas where Isis has taken control of official buildings.
John Kerry is said to be most worried about Greece and Italy, where thousands of migrants arrive by boat every month.
He is said to have given the five nations a deadline of February 1 to fix a ‘crucial loophole’, reports Politico, or lose access to the visa waiver, which is used by 20million people from 38 countries per year – most of them in Europe.
The concerns were raised after the passport of ‘Ahmad Almohammad’ was found at the Paris Stade de France terror attack.
Finger print analysis of the bomber’s remains revealed the man, who had falsely declared himself to be a Syrian named Ahmad Almohammad, 25, had entered Greece as a refugee on October 3.
He was among 198 migrants who landed on the island of Leros after crossing the Aegean from Turkey on a raft.
He was processed as a refugee by the Greek authorities who interview more than 1,000 migrants and refugees a day to establish their real identities and nationalities.
They took his photograph and fingerprints before giving him a document that enabled him to buy a ferry ticket to leave the island for Athens.
Almohammad left EU state Greece a few days later. He crossed into Macedonia and into Serbia where he was registered at the Presevo border crossing on October 7.
He continued north and entered the EU again when he crossed into Croatia. He was registered at the Opatovac refugee camp on October 8, before eventually travelling to Paris to commit mass murder.
The two other suicide bombers who detonated themselves outside the French national stadium carried false Turkish passports, it has emerged.