11 March 2024, by Emily Proctor

In a bid to reduce the waiting times for travellers trying to pass through passport control, the Netherlands is experimenting with using a digital passport system that could be rolled out across Dutch airports in the future. The test is currently being trialled at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, specifically in partnership with Canadian authorities for travellers departing from Canada to the Netherlands with KLM. 

Travellers from Canada can use the new digital passport system

The pilot project, which will last until the end of March, will see travellers from Canada who are flying with KLM receive an email to sign up for the programme. In a specially developed app, they will then be able to upload a photo, answer arrival questions, confirm residency and submit all the relevant details about their travel to the Dutch authorities. 

At passport control on the Dutch side, travellers will hold their closed passport against a scanner at the exit gate, where their info can be quickly checked and then they can enter the Netherlands. This means that the physical passport will still be necessary while travelling, but the time-consuming process of checking passports at the border will be already done in advance before passengers arrive in the Netherlands.

Military police are using the opportunity to iron out any issues

So far, the pilot is going smoothly, but the military police have noticed some issues that they are keen to iron out before they are willing to roll out the system more widely. “We have sometimes had problems with the system, but we learn from that,” Elwin Van der Molen of the military police told the NOS Radio 1 Journaal

The military police are careful to stress that the experiment does not compromise the security of the Dutch arrivals process. “If travellers have a story that is not entirely correct, or if they do not have a hotel, for example, they must still report to the counter,” says Van der Molen. Overall, the project seems to be having a positive effect on the queue times of arrivals at the airport. “I hope everything works out because this is the future we have to go to. The lines are really moving much faster,” Van der Molen added.

Thumb image credit: 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

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