Digital Passport: Finland’s Paper-Free Passport

Digital Passport: Finland’s Paper-Free Passport

Finland is eager to trial the use of digital travel documents in cross-border travel becoming the first country in the European Union (EU) to do so.

The European Commission has expressed its hope that some member states carry out such pilot projects to accumulate experiences that allow it to present a proposal for implementing digital travel documents in the 27-country bloc.

The preliminary plan is to trial digital documents in travel between Croatia and Finland, and between Canada and the Netherlands. The trial will be funded by the commission however the funding still needs to be approved. As soon as it is approved, the use of digital travel documents will be tested at Helsinki Airport.

Digital travel documents are perceived as possible means to expedite and streamline border controls and travel.

According to a report in the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, the European Commission reached out at the end of last year to ask if the country would be willing to participate in the pilot project.

“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 told the newspaper

Trial Plan For The Digital Passport

To test the new digital passport, Helsinki Airport would create a separate lane for performing border controls on both arriving and departing passengers participating in the trial. The passengers would be identified based on a photograph taken in conjunction with the controls.

A similar system would be set up in Croatia.

“A passport would have to be waved over a reader in the first phase, but it doesn’t even have to be open. Once we move forward with the trial, it’d probably be possible to use a smartphone instead of a passport,”

Mikko Väisänen

Volunteer passengers participating in the pilot would still have to keep their physical passports with them.

“The long-term goal is that passengers don’t have to have their physical passports with them. It’ll take a while before we’re there, though. The pilot project would be just the first phase,” 

Mikko Väisänen

The use of digital passports could be trialled for passengers between Croatia and Finland starting in the first half of 2023

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