Lonely Planet Writer

Prepare for the paperless passport: travel documents enter the digital age

Forgetting your passport will thankfully be a thing of the past as soon as travel documents enter the digital age.

Passports of the future will be paperless and will be encrypted in your phone
Passports of the future will be paperless and will be embedded in smartphones Image by Baigal Byamba / CC BY 2.0

At present plane passengers can use their phones instead of a hardcopy boarding pass while paper tickets are getting rarer by the day.

Smartphone boarding passes have become common over the past few years Image by Thomas van de Weerd / CC BY 2.0

Next in line to disappear will be hardcopy passports, according to experts, but it will take a little more time because safeguards for information in the process will have to be foolproof.

The British banknote printer, De La Rue has revealed its plans to embed passports directly into smartphones.

The chief executive of the company, Martin Sutherland told the Times in London that the company had begun

trying to secure phone-based information that would be acceptable for immigration control.

The Sunday Express pointed out that after creating the new technology for digital passports, De La Rue will then need to get the green light from the British government for its proposal.

However it has a strong reputation in the field as the world’s largest producer of passports. The UK firm is also specialist in counterfeit-foiling technology including holograms.

The age of the paperless passport isn’t around the corner but it will be part of how people travel in the future, Mr Sutherland added.