Finland will be testing digital passports for the first time

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Finland is set to test a mobile app that will allow passengers to travel without using paper passports

Finland may be the first country in the EU to test a mobile app that contains digital copies of travel documents which will represent the first attempt to use digital passports.

The country has stated its desire to test a phone app that would store digital copies of travel documents rather than traditional paper passports. Passengers could use this new technology to send information to border authorities before traveling abroad.

“We are currently preparing a funding application for the Commission. The application must be submitted by the end of August. After that, it will be decided whether the project will be realised or not.”

Mikko Väisänen, an inspector for the Finnish Border Guard

What is the working of Finland’s trial digital passport?

Some member states are being encouraged by the Commission to test out digital travel documents. With the knowledge gained from these testing, it might be possible to establish cross-border travel within the EU using only a mobile phone app.

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The study in Finland may or may not proceed, but the digital documents could be tried on flights to Croatia first.

It will be requested of some passengers to volunteer to download the app to their smartphones. After that, they will be able to send their paperwork to border control officials before they leave.
After the travel, the information is destroyed, according to Väisänen.

At the earliest, in spring 2023, people traveling between Finland and Croatia are most likely to volunteer.

Could the solution to airport delays be digital passports?

For the time being, trial participants will still need to carry their actual paper passports and submit to border agent inspections.

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However, the ultimate goal is for people to only need to carry their phones as official identification. A snapshot of a person’s face could be used to identify a traveler when they board a plane or pass through security.

These digital travel documents are intended to speed up and greatly simplify border crossing. Passengers could wait less time if even a minor amount of each check’s processing time was reduced.

Are digital passports already in use elsewhere in the world?

Ukraine was the first nation to provide digital passports the same legal standing as traditional ones in 2021.

Users can view electronic versions of their documents via the Dila mobile app, which is published by Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation. They can also produce QR codes with about the same authority as a passport.

In a variety of circumstances, like opening a bank account for a few years or proving their identification at the post office, Ukrainians have been allowed to utilize their digital passports. However, last year they were also acknowledged while entering the nation by train or airplane.

Similar uses of digital documentation on cellphones are seen in Poland and South Korea, and other pilot programs in the US and UK may soon be under way.


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