Finland has taken the global lead by unveiling the world’s first-ever digital passport. This innovation, in the form of a mobile app, lets travelers securely store and present their passport information on their smartphones, eliminating the need for carrying a physical document.
Launched on August 28, 2023, the initiative is a collaborative effort between Finland, Finnair, the Finnish police, and Finavia, the airport operator. This initiative aligns with a broader European Union (EU) plan to test digital passports in a bid to enhance travel technology and security measures.
The initial phase of the project involves travelers on select Finnair flights from Helsinki to the UK and vice versa. These travelers can register their digital passports at the Vantaa Main Police Station‘s license services. To participate, travelers are required to download the FIN DTC Pilot app, which utilizes facial recognition and biometric data to verify their identity.
Once registered, travelers can transmit their data via the app to the Finnish Border Guard within 36 to 4 hours before their scheduled departure. Upon arrival, they can use their smartphones to scan a provided QR code at the border control checkpoint. This approach is poised to expedite the travel process, making it not only faster but also more streamlined and secure, all while reducing the reliance on physical documents and minimizing human interaction.
The project is set to run until February 2024, during which it will be evaluated for its feasibility and user satisfaction.
Several other nations, including Poland, South Korea, the US, and the UK, are actively developing and implementing similar initiatives. Countries like Ukraine, Singapore, China, Estonia, and Israel have already introduced digital health or vaccine passports to facilitate travel, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.