Virginia, US

Jul 03 2019

First-Ever Passport-Free Travel Program Forthcoming; Likely to Expand to More Countries

Canada, Netherlands

At a Glance

  • The governments of Canada and the Netherlands will launch the first ever voluntary passport-free pilot project in the world, the Known Traveler Digital Identity (KTDI) Initiative, in 2020.
  • The KTDI is meant to streamline the travel process for travelers between the Netherlands and Canada, while maintaining national and international security requirements.

The situation

The first voluntary passport-free pilot program in the world, called the Known Traveler Digital Identity (KTDI), will be launched between Canada and the Netherlands in 2020. It will replace the need for a passport with a secure data storage system on a mobile phone application and biometric data checks.

A closer look

  • Trusted traveler programs. Under the program, travelers will be able to establish a known traveler profile to be used by border agencies and recognized airlines and allow personal documents used for immigration clearance (such as university certificates and bank statements) to be shared across agencies involved in the program. Travelers can benefit from an expedited process by sharing additional information which is verified by a trusted program partner and subsequently incorporated into their profile.
  • Data security. Travelers will be able to select which personal information they share through the program and for how long, and the traveler’s identity will be protected by technological security measures.
  • Eligibility. Participation in the pilot program will be voluntary and participants will be selected from two groups: employees of participating partners and passengers contacted directly by airlines. Travelers will need to be Dutch or Canadian nationals over 18 years of age and eligible for entry into the destination country.
  • Implementation date. The KTDI will be tested throughout 2019, with the first end-to-end paperless trip expected to take place in early 2020.



The KTDI is meant to streamline the travel process for foreign nationals by speeding up security checks at travel checkpoints and reducing the need for the submission and re-submission of paper and electronic documents for various trips.

History of program

This would be the first program in the world of its kind. The program was originally devised by a multi-stakeholder working group in 2015 which included both government and private sector partners, including the Airports Council International, the World Travel and Tourism Council and the International Civil Aviation Organization, among others. In January 2018, the government of Canada and the Netherlands agreed to test a pilot program.

Looking ahead

The pilot KTDI program between the Netherlands and Canada will provide insights on the workability of paperless travel, as well as how to improve and adapt the program on a larger scale. Eventually, such a program will likely be expanded to other countries and will require international standardization of airport technology and continued cooperation between all involved partners.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected] or  [email protected].