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Digital Travel Credential trials resume with flights from Netherlands to Canada

Airport biometrics advance in Uganda, Vietnam
Digital Travel Credential trials resume with flights from Netherlands to Canada

Digital identity continues to transform travel around the world. Schiphol airport in Amsterdam has revived a trial of Digital Travel Credentials (DTCs) to shorten queues. Entebbe International Airport has just opened its self-clearance e-gates for Ugandan citizens using digital passports. Vietnam’s border is improving its IT infrastructure to support a border information portal.

Schiphol airport testing DTCs for shorter queues

Over the past few weeks, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been testing a digital travel document that military police can use in place of passports to shorten lines for intercontinental travel, according to NOS.

At the request of the European Commission, the Netherlands is conducting the trial in partnership with Canada to test the digital travel credentials. Only those flying from Canada to the Netherlands with KLM are eligible to participate in the trial.

The two countries agreed to trial DTCs under the Known Traveller Digital Identity program, originally with Idemia, Vision-Box and Accenture as partners. The pilot was first confirmed in 2019 but was stalled in 2022 due to the effects of the pandemic on travel. An Idemia face biometrics scanner is clearly depicted in NOS’ video report.

Travelers get invited by email to download an app in which they can upload a face photo and fill in passport information to serve as a decentralized ID. They must also answer questions about the purpose of their visit, whether or not they have the resources to stay in the country and whether they have somewhere to stay and a return flight.

Border control carries out an identity check before the traveler arrives. If the travelers’ responses are not consistent, they must still report to border authorities.

At the airport, travelers hold their passports against a border gate. If the passport matches the digital travel credential in the system, travelers can continue. Passengers must continue to carry their physical passports when traveling for this purpose.

The trials will continue until the end of March. It is expected to take years before digital travel credentials can be formally introduced.

Entebbe Airport accepts digital passports at e-gates

In Entebbe Airport in Uganda, citizens can use their digital passports at self-clearance e-gates, according to New Vision.

The e-passports differ from physical machine-readable passports, which can only hold traditional text information, a photo, and the ghost image. The new, chip-enabled passports add biometric identification capabilities and will leverage Uganda’s national database of fingerprints.

Travelers use self-clearance e-gates by scanning their passport and submitting a scan of their face for comparison. The use of biometrics minimizes the chances of identity theft.

Now citizens can use e-gates to leave and enter the country without necessarily interacting with immigration officers.

Uganda began its journey towards issuing chipped biometric passports when it contracted Veridos to work with a local partner on the production.

Vietnam begins IT pilot to confirm permits with digital signatures

In Vietnam, an information technology pilot is underway to test the electronic border information portal that allows for the issuing and controlling of various permits at an online port border gate, according to Vietnam News. Travelers confirm the permits with a digital signature.

In 2024, the system will be at seven port border gates and will be at all port border gates in the country by 2025.

The permits use 2D barcodes to reduce inspection time for sailors, passengers, and workers from three minutes to about 30 seconds.

In the future, the Department of Border Gate Management plans to work with involved agencies to implement Project 06, the Ministry of National Defense project which will use the national population database for immigration management, among other purposes, according to Colonel Đỗ Ngọc Toàn, director of the department.

The department is in the process of implementing 21 electronic border procedures, 18 of which will be integrated with the portal. The procedures are deployed at 89 ports of entry, as well as international and mainland border gates.

An entry-exit management and control software leverages a centralized data model and has been connected with 109 border checkpoints and syncs with data from the Ministry of Public Security’s Immigration Department.

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