No passport, no visa: Dubai passengers can travel without documents in near future

Travellers will undergo a streamlined process at check-in counters where their biometrics are scanned


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Tue 17 Oct 2023, 11:32 AM

Last updated: Thu 19 Oct 2023, 11:12 AM

Smart technology is shaping Dubai's future. Soon, your face will be your cash; you commute in a flying taxi and zoom past smart gates for public transport. What's the next big innovation?

Dubai residents can travel through the airport without passports, visas or any travel documents in the near future. That is according to integrated solutions provider Emaratech, who are at the technology exhibition Gitex that kicked off in Dubai on Monday.

The system, which facilitates the seamless passenger journey, is being developed under the ownership of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai (GDRFA Dubai) and in partnership with Emirates Airlines and Dubai Airport.

As demonstrated by Emaratech at GITEX, passenger information as well as the flight details is received by the GDRFA Dubai system before the passenger reaches the airport.

At the check-in counter, passengers will undergo a streamlined process where their biometrics are scanned. Their comprehensive travel itinerary and information will be furnished, and they will be facilitated to check in their luggage.

The passengers’ faces will be their identity and will be used throughout the seamless travel journey. When passengers reach immigration, instead of going to the counter, they will be able to head directly to the smart gate, where they don’t need to use any travel documents as their faces are all the required proof.

Once they pass through the smart gate, travellers will be able to head to the duty-free, where their facial recognition and biometrics will verify their identity. The same will be applicable at the boarding gate, too.

As long as the security check is clear and there are no fines on the traveler's profile, travel will be a cakewalk for people flying out of Dubai airport.

Systems being put in place

As per the company, an exact timeline on how soon these measures will be rolled out has yet to be ready. Some components of the seamless journey are already in place, like the smart gate, which allows entry and exit by GDRFA Dubai at Dubai Airport. The rest of the seamless journey components are still under discussion with all the partners within the project.

In September, officials from Emirates airline said that by the end of the year, the airline will be in a position to facilitate passenger check-in through their own identity into boarding the aircraft.

Dubai Airports has been working on the project, utilising the latest biometric technology. The system is currently undergoing trials at the Dubai International Airport.

Last year, the first phase of a similar biometric check-in system was rolled out at the Abu Dhabi International Airport, wherein passengers could get a boarding pass and avail of other services using their face scan.


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