Tuesday, May 28

A British company is trying to change the most annoying thing about passports



Many people worry about forgetting their passport when they travel, but few would leave the house without their smartphone. The British passport maker De La Rue may have found a solution to the problem: moving travellers’ passports onto their mobile phones.

Martin Sutherland, the chief executive of De La Rue, told The Times that the company has begun working on technology that could securely store passport details on smartphones, rendering passport books obsolete.

The paperless passports, which we first read about on The Telegraph, would allow individuals to pass through immigration control at airports without any physical documents.

If they become a reality, the digital passports could work like mobile boarding passes, according to The Telegraph’s report.

“Technology is at the forefront of De La Rue’s business, and as you would expect we are always looking at new innovations and technology solutions for our customers around the world,” a spokesperson for De La Rue told Business Insider over email.

“Paperless passports are one of many initiatives that we are currently looking at, but at the moment it is a concept that is at the very early stages of development.”

It’s unclear how individuals’ personal details, which are currently stored on a passport’s electronic chip, would be transferred to mobile phones and kept secure. What might happen if a phone were to break, get lost or stolen is also unclear at this stage.

Of course, the passports would need to be approved by governments before they could be used internationally, according to The Times.

Though paperless passports aren’t likely to be ready for quite some time, with 80% of the British population holding a passport (according to a spokesperson for the Home Office), it’s an exciting prospect that could revolutionise modern travel.

Business Insider has contacted De La Rue for further information. 50 countries with the world’s most powerful passports.