Focus on Finland: Between the country’s young Prime Minister who is not afraid to hit the dance floor and the many innovations, Finland may not make international headlines every day, but it is the source of many unique practices. A look back at the first attempt to use digital passports in the European Union. Finland wants to test a mobile border identification application before taking off.
Finland could be the first country in the European Union to experiment with digital passports. The country has notified the EU of its willingness to try a pilot project to digitize official documents.
The trial will involve Finnish volunteers on flights to Croatia from Finland. But the project is awaiting validation from the European Commission, the institution providing the funding.
“We are currently preparing a funding request for the Commission. The application must be submitted before the end of August. After that, it will be decided whether the project will be carried out or not,” Mikko Väisänen, a Finnish border guard inspector, told Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
If this request is approved, the trial could begin as early as spring 2023.
How do official documents work in digital form?
In the Finnish experience, digital official documents would be digital copies of paper documents. By uploading them to a mobile application, travelers will be able to send their documents to border authorities before their trip. This initiative should make it possible to save time during border control and to streamline queues.
For reasons of confidentiality, the Finnish border guard inspector said that the documents would be deleted at the end of the trip.
Is the end of physical passports in sight?
While travelers will be asked to take their official paper documents with them for the experience, the long-term goal is to eliminate the need to carry a physical passport, the inspector pointed out.
In the future, the documents would no longer be necessary. According to the media Euronews, “t(r)avellers could simply be identified using a photo of their face when they board a plane or pass a security check”.
Similar projects already exist in Poland, South Korea and Ukraine. In fact, Ukraine became the first country in the world in 2021 to grant the same legal status to digital documents as to paper.
Other projects are being tested in the United Kingdom and the United States. – AFP Relax News