Finland Tests Digital Passports in World’s First Digital Passport


Last Updated on December 27, 2023 by Rikki

In a groundbreaking move, Finland is testing digital passports, becoming the first country to do so in a real border control environment.

This trial, in partnership with Finnair, the Finnish police, and airport operator Finavia, aims to make the travel experience faster and smoother for Finnish citizens flying from Helsinki to the UK. Instead of waiting in line for border control, these passengers may now be able to use a digital ID on their phone, eliminating the need for a physical passport.

The Finnish Border Control claims that these Digital Travel Credentials are “equally reliable” as a traditional passport. This trial could potentially pave the way for the introduction of digital passports across the EU in the future.

Finland tests digital passports in world’s first digital passport

In a groundbreaking move, Finland is piloting the use of digital passports, known as Digital Travel Credentials (DTC), in their border control process. This exciting project, being conducted in partnership with Finnair, the Finnish police, and airport operator Finavia, has the potential to revolutionize travel by allowing passengers to bypass queues and easily navigate through airport security using their smartphones. Finland’s digital passport trial is the first of its kind to be accepted in a real border control environment, making it a significant milestone in travel technology.

Passengers could avoid queues at the airport with a digital passport

One of the major advantages of using a digital passport is the potential to eliminate the long queues typically associated with airport security and border control. With a digital passport, passengers will no longer need to present their physical passports for inspection; instead, they can simply display their digital ID on their smartphones. This streamlined process has the potential to significantly reduce wait times and provide a more efficient travel experience.

Digital Travel Credentials (DTC)

The Finnish Border Control is pioneering the use of Digital Travel Credentials (DTC) as an alternative to physical passports. DTC is a digital version of a physical passport that is deemed equally reliable by the Finnish authorities. It offers a convenient and secure means of identification for travelers, allowing them to verify their identity and pass through border control quickly and smoothly.

Partnership with Finnair, Finnish police, and airport operator Finavia

The successful implementation of digital passports relies on collaboration among various stakeholders. Finland’s pilot project has brought together key players in the travel industry, including Finnair, the Finnish police, and airport operator Finavia. This partnership ensures that the necessary infrastructure and processes are in place to facilitate the use of digital passports in a real-world border control environment.

Digital passports accepted in a real border control environment

The acceptance of digital passports in a real border control environment is a significant milestone. Finland’s digital passport trial marks the first time that a digital passport has been officially recognized and used for border control purposes. This achievement demonstrates the viability and reliability of digital passports as a means of identification.

Faster and smoother travel experience

The introduction of digital passports has the potential to greatly enhance the travel experience for passengers. By eliminating the need to carry physical passports and the associated waiting times at border control, travelers can enjoy a faster and smoother journey through the airport. This not only saves time but also reduces stress and enhances overall satisfaction.

DTC pilot project opened to Finnish passengers on Finnair flights

Finland’s DTC pilot project is currently open to Finnish passengers traveling on select Finnair flights. The trial allows participants to test the use of digital passports and provide valuable feedback for further refinement. This phased approach ensures that any issues or concerns can be addressed before a wider rollout.

Registration process for DTC

To participate in the DTC pilot project, passengers must first download the FIN DTC Pilot app on their smartphones from either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Before installing the app, users must have a phone screen locking method, such as a PIN number, fingerprint, or face ID, activated. Once the app is installed, passengers need to register with the police at Vantaa Main Police Station’s license services. During registration, a valid physical passport is required to create the digital version, and passengers will also have their photo taken for facial recognition purposes.

Sending data through the app

Prior to each flight, passengers using DTC must send their data through the app to the Finnish Border Guard. This process ensures that the necessary traveler information is securely transmitted to the authorities before departure. Passengers are advised to complete this step 36 to 4 hours before their scheduled flight to allow sufficient time for processing.

How a digital passport works at the airport

When using a digital passport at Helsinki Airport, Finnish passengers will encounter dedicated lines for DTC users. At the border control checkpoint, a border guard will compare the passenger’s photo on their smartphone with the one taken during the registration process. Additionally, passengers must place their physical passports on a separate reader and look into a camera for facial recognition verification. Upon successful verification, passengers can proceed through border control with ease.

Possibility of introducing digital passports across the EU

Finland’s pioneering digital passport project is part of a wider EU pilot aimed at exploring the potential of digital passports throughout the European Union. The European Commission has actively sought participation from member countries, with Croatia also volunteering to conduct a pilot project at Zagreb Airport. The information and insights gathered from these pilot projects will contribute to a proposal for the eventual rollout of digital passports across the EU. This coordinated effort reflects the EU’s commitment to leveraging technology to enhance travel efficiency and security for its citizens.

In conclusion, Finland’s groundbreaking pilot project for digital passports has the potential to revolutionize travel by offering a faster and smoother experience for passengers. Through collaboration with key stakeholders and the use of DTC, Finland is leading the way in exploring the viability of digital passports in a real border control environment.

The successful implementation of digital passports in Finland could pave the way for their introduction across the EU, further streamlining travel processes and enhancing travel experiences for millions of people.

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Hi, I’m Rikki

I’m a passionate author and blogger, sharing my thoughts and experiences on life and travel.

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