Finland tests digital passports on UK flights

Digital passports trial om flights to and from UK

Finnish citizens flying from Helsinki to 3 destinations in the UK can now use a Digital Travel Credentials (DTC) system as an alternative to physical passports.

The DTC is a digital version of a physical passport and is supposed to be equally reliable.

The pilot will allow volunteer passengers on Finnair flights to London, Edinburgh and Manchester to pass through border control using their DTC instead of a physical passport.

Passengers give their information, including biometrics, to the Finnish Border Police who create the DTC. At the airport, passengers should be able to travel as their biometrics in the DTC will be checked against their live biometrics.

The pilot project will test the DTC in a real border control environment, reportedly for the first time in the world.

Passengers are still subject to UK border control rules on arrival.

How DTC works

  • Finnish citizens traveling to London, Edinburgh, or Manchester via Finnair can opt for the digital system by downloading the FIN DTC Pilot app.
  • They register at the Vantaa Main Police Station, where their facial biometrics are captured for facial recognition. They also need their physical passport.
  • Once registered, passengers can then use the digital document at Helsinki airport when travelling to the UK and returning to Helsinki airport on direct Finnair flights until February 2024.
  • At the airport, special queues are set up for DTC users.
  • Their identity is verified through a comparison between the DTC photo and the one taken during the registration process, supplemented by facial recognition technology.

Passenger have to send their data to the Finnish Border Guard every time they fly.

And they have to do it between four and 36 hours before their flight.

Why use DTC?

The Finnish Border Guard say a DTC is “a digital version of a physical passport and is equally reliable” and allows “smooth and fast border crossings without compromising security”. 

But everyone knows the existing biometric checks at airports are unreliable.

At Schiphol the time to clear border control is awful.

Heathrow and Gatwick can be superb but can be ridiculous. Especially at night when they turn most egates off!

And why would you ever travel without a passport? Just too many potential horrors there.

Internet links

Helsinki Airport (HEL)

Finnish Border Guard