Indicio’s Digital Travel Credential streamlines identity verification at border crossing points for a faster and more secure journey.
By Heather Dahl
Never would I have thought I’d use the word ‘beautiful’ to describe my experience passing through immigration when traveling internationally, but that’s exactly how it felt last week in Aruba. The reason? Aruba’s Happy One Pass (AHOP). I was able to walk through border control without having to take my passport out of my pocket. It was so quick and smooth that I didn’t realize it happened.
With this system, you can actually go from the airplane to the beach in just 30 minutes, completely transforming the typical airport and arrival experience. And lucky travelers to Aruba will begin using the same technology to enter and depart the island nation in March 2024. This is not a federated system that sends information to other third parties and is held by others. Travelers hold their digital passport data just like they hold their physical passports — and there is full consent for data sharing at each step of the process.
Here’s how it works. Every traveler must apply for an Embarkation Debarkation card (ED card) to enter Aruba. The night before flying to Aruba, I downloaded the AHOP app on my personal mobile phone using a special invitation sent by the Government of Aruba. Then I used my mobile phone camera to scan my passport and the RFID scanner to collect the information from the chip inside, allowing me to create a Digital Travel Credential (DTC). After taking a selfie, my face was matched and liveness was checked to ensure the passport was actually mine. Then, I sent my DTC, directly to the government of Aruba during my ED Card application process. They used my biometrics and personal information to process my application and send me my approved digital ED card. In other words, the Government of Aruba was able to check my passport and clear me for arrival all while I sat on my couch.
The next day when I landed in Aruba, instead of standing in a long line in the immigration terminal to get my paper documents and passports visually inspected, I headed toward the “AHOP” line, where I was presented with a camera that took my photo. Within seconds, the system had matched my face with the photo I’d sent the night before, verified my immigration status, showed the security officer the match, the green light flashed and I went on my way. It was the easiest immigration system I’d ever encountered.
In adopting this technology, Aruba isn’t just positioning itself as a global leader in digital travel, it is extending the seamless digital experience to everything a tourist might need or want when they visit the island, from hotel check in to booking activities with approved tour operators.
This seamless approach to guest services fully aligns with consumer expectations that anything and everything digital should be quick, contactless, and frictionless. The bonus with the technology used by Aruba is that it does all this while providing travelers with state-of-the-art data privacy and protection.
While this technology will change the experience of travel and tourism, the underlying technological accomplishment — the ability to verify the source of any data and that the data hasn’t been altered — will transform every facet of digital interaction across every sector.
AHOP is a milestone for Indicio, its partner in the air travel sector, SITA, and Aruba. Next stop, the world.
Hear more about my experience with AHOP here.
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