Passengers could soon fly to Croatia from Vantaa Airport in Helsinki using a digital ID on their phones instead of a physical ID card or passport, subject to approval by the European Commission. However, in the initial phase of the project, passengers would still have to take their passports with them to return home, the reports Sanomat newspaper Helsinginvia online translation.
Finnish authorities will need guinea pigs to test the first cross-border route, but they have yet to pack their tiny suitcases. The first step is to complete the application by the end of August and await the European Commission’s decision on whether to fund the pilot. If approved, a multi-stage pilot would begin, with the Commission reportedly keen to see the results of such pilots, with a view to rolling out digital travel documents across the EU.
If approved, the project could begin by the end of the year, although there are no direct flights between the two Finland and Croatia until spring 2023. Finland is therefore considering other destinations. The Netherlands and Canada are also mentioned.
Mikko Väisänen, inspector of staff at the Finnish Border Guard, said the Commission had contacted Finland to see if it was interested in participating. The use of digital ID cards could help speed up checks.
phase out of the physical
In the first stage, a passport would still be required. Väisänen told Helsingin Sanomat that a traveler would have an app on their phone containing a digital travel document. Before the trip, they would send the information in the document to the border authorities electronically and in advance. The data will be deleted after the trip.
At the border control, a photo of the passenger is taken for identification. The passenger would have to hold the passport over the reader but not open it for a scan. This would be to read the chip. In a later step, the passenger could hold their mobile phone over the reader.
Similar plans exist for Croatia, but passengers would be required to carry physical ID to ensure they can complete all stages of the journey.
Helsinki’s Vantaa Airport would have a line for departing and arriving passengers to pass through border controls during the digital ID pilot.
The digital travel document could also eliminate the need for boarding passes and other documents, as facial recognition could be used at security and boarding instead, says Väisänen.
Finland may also plan to use it Biometrics from civil and tourist traffic Serious Crime Investigation Register.