Finland has been testing digital passports at Helsinki airport since August to expedite border control procedures. The Digital Travel Identity (DTC) project was launched on August 28th for Finnair flights to three UK cities: London, Manchester, and Edinburgh.
To travel to Finland, travelers need to download a DTC-specific application. Then they must go to a police station in the Finnish capital to register physically. The police station will create a digital copy of their passport by scanning the chip. Additionally, photos will be taken for facial recognition at the airport.
According to Mikko Väisänen, an inspector of the Finnish border guards, the digital passport project is a first step towards the future of travel. The project aims to improve speed and security at border controls. This world-first digital passport experience has a dedicated line at the airport for DTC travelers.
The traveler stands before a camera, holding his closed passport. The border guard compares his face to the police station photo. If the comparison succeeds, the traveler can pass through the control.
Before arriving at the border, the passport chip information is sent to the border guard inspection system for verification. This allows the system to check the traveler’s background and details.
Only one police station registration is necessary. After that, the traveler can use the DTC as much as they want as long as they register their journey in advance on the mobile application. Some passengers travel with the DTC every day.
The European Commission granted the project 2.3 million euros in funding. Finland awaits the Commission's legislative proposal before integrating the digital passport into their current control system.