Finland has taken a significant step towards revolutionizing the way we travel. The Finnish Border Control has introduced the use of Digital Travel Credentials (DTC), which they assert are as trustworthy as traditional physical passports.
This innovative approach is expected to make the travel experience more efficient and less time-consuming for passengers.
The pilot project, which commenced on August 28th, is currently available to Finnish citizens traveling from Helsinki to destinations in the UK, including London, Edinburgh, and Manchester. Those interested in participating in this trial need to download the FIN DTC Pilot digital travel document app from either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
To ensure security, users must have a phone screen locking method, such as a PIN, fingerprint, or face ID, activated before installing the app.
The registration process for the digital passport is quite straightforward. Travelers are required to book an appointment at the Vantaa Main Police Station's license services, where they will present their physical passport. During this registration, a consent form is signed, and a facial recognition photo is taken.
This one-time registration allows travelers to use the DTC at Helsinki Airport for direct Finnair flights to the UK until the end of February 2024, when the trial concludes.
The process of using the digital passport at the airport has been designed to be smooth and efficient. Special lines have been set up at Helsinki Airport for those testing the service. A border guard will verify the traveler's identity by comparing the DTC photo with the one taken during registration.
After placing their passport on a reader, travelers will look into a camera for further verification. Once cleared, they can proceed through border control. However, it's essential to note that this system is currently operational only in Helsinki. Travelers will still need to adhere to the local regulations when they arrive in the UK.
How the European Union reacted to Finland's initiative
This initiative by Finland is not an isolated one. It's part of a broader effort by the European Union to enhance travel technology across the bloc. The European Commission, recognizing the potential of digital passports, had previously sought countries willing to test these digital documents.
Croatia has also shown interest and plans to launch its pilot project at Zagreb Airport later this year. The insights and data collected from these trials will be pivotal in shaping the proposal to introduce digital passports throughout the EU in the foreseeable future.
As the world becomes increasingly digital, the introduction of digital passports by Finland marks a significant stride in modernizing travel. If successful, this could set the stage for a more streamlined and efficient travel experience for millions across the European Union and potentially the world.
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