Travelling without a passport could become a reality. Pexels

Passport control and visas are a necessary security feature for international travel, but in the future it could be done away with.

An initiative introduced by the World Economic Forum (WEF) called the Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI) programme is already in a pilot phase.

The WEF website confirms that the scheme: "allows people to fly document-free between international destinations". 

"Testing for the scheme is underway, and passengers enrolled in the pilot project will be able to travel between Canada and the Netherlands using their mobile phone instead of a passport," says the WEF.

What does this mean

Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility at the World Economic Forum, says: "By 2030, international air arrivals are expected to reach 1.8 billion passengers, up 50% from 2016. Under today’s systems, airports cannot keep up with this growth...this project offers a solution."

He adds: "By using an interoperable digital identity and other KTDI technologies we are offering travellers a holistic answer to secure and seamless travel. This will shape the future of aviation and security.”

  • You arrive at the participating airport - and your identity data will be encrypted and stored on their mobile phone
  • This data replaces the passport microchip.
  • Before you reach the airport your information is sent to airlines and border authorities.
  • Biometric technology is used.

The KTDI pilot programme

Trials of this programme will run throughout 2019

The first digitally documented end-to-end journey is projected to take place in 2020.

The programme will also ease the administrative burden of the aviation industry and government officials

The WEF says: "Success will rest upon cooperation between world governments, technology providers, the aviation industry, border authorities and others, to establish global security and data protection standards for all stakeholders to comply with.

"The pilot scheme represents a unique collaborative effort between stakeholders in Canada and the Netherlands, which could become a model for others to follow and change the way air travel operates."

For more information, check out the WEF article here