Paper passports could be on the way out

Passports could soon be a thing of the past, with paperless travel documents being pioneered by a UK company.

Monday, 4th April 2016, 1:52 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2016, 1:56 pm

De La Rue, the world’s largest passport producer, is currently working on securely storing personal details on smartphones, meaning that - unless you lose your phone - last-minute holiday passport panic could be a thing of the past.

A De La Rue spokesperson said that the technology is just at the ‘early stages of development’ but in theory, a digital passport would work just like the boarding passes in use today.

Quite how such sensitive personal details - currently stored on a passport’s electronic chip - could be made completely secure is currently unclear. But with Apple Pay and Google Wallet showing that mobile devices can be securely used for financial transactions, it would seem that advances in technology may soon allow for a paperless passport.

Airports in the USA including Atlanta and Miami have trialled the use of mobile phones to allow passengers to clear customs, while Australia is developing ‘cloud passport’ technology, storing identity and biometric information online.

And MODI, the biometrics company responsible for the e-Passport scanners already in use in many airports, hopes that a combination of iris recognition and facial scanning will reduce waiting times in airports by allowing passengers to be checked while on the move.