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Finland launches first EU digital ID travel route with UK, Croatia

Finland launches first EU digital ID travel route with UK, Croatia

Passengers flying from Helsinki to Croatia and the United Kingdom can now show a digital ID instead of an ID card or passport.

Finland’s pilot of digital travel credentials began August 28, allowing passengers on Finnair to London, Edinburgh and Manchester to pass through border control using their phone.

Croatia is also participating in the pilot at the border checkpoints of Zagreb International Airport this fall.

The project is limited to border control at Helsinki’s Vantaa Airport. Passengers will need to download an app, register with the police using their passports and take a selfie.

Digital credentials were slated for a pilot on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flights between the Netherlands and Canada, also under the EU Commission, which is funding the new €2.3 million (US$2.4 million) project.  The service, similar to this pilot, was first discussed in 2018. It was to debut, unknowingly, right before Covid shut down global travel. That was a biometrics and blockchain service called Known Traveler Digital ID and addressed transportation between the Netherlands and Canada.

The European Commission is also working on a digital Schengen visa that will require collecting biometrics for first-time applicants.

The Finnish project is a cooperative venture with the Border Guard, Finnair, the Finnish Police and Finnish airport company Finavia. Other partners include the Finnish Immigration Service and National Police Board, the Croatian Ministry of Interior and AKD, a Croatian ID company.

During Identity Week Europe in June, Mika Hansson, a senior adviser with the Finnish National Police Board, introduced several types of digital travel credentials, including the so-called type 3, which eliminates the need for any physical document to be carried by the passenger.


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