Lost Your Passport? You Can Now Take a Selfie to Replace It
A new passport card system in the EU promises to reduce both hassle and expense
The autumn after I graduated from college, I somehow wound up in London with no wallet and no passport. The process of getting the replacement involved several days of waiting, a visit to a small business that seemed to make most of its money off of passport photos, and a dramatic cab ride to the U.S. Embassy where I had to pay for everything in cash (a tall order considering my wallet situation). In an era of instant communications, an unprecedented ability to track and identify people and better payment methods, shouldn’t there be a better way?
The passport card system, which should roll out around mid-July and cost €35, will include an app allowing users to take selfies meeting passport regulations and submit them for inclusion on the card. The Passport Service estimates that the cards will be cost-efficient enough to pay for themselves, from the perspective of taxpayers, within three years.
So though the EU’s project is certain to make waves, there might be more roads to identification-document innovation on the horizon: Iowa and Delaware, for one, have announced plans for completely digital driver’s licenses that can act as a backup for traditional ones. These, too, will be powered by an app, developed by MorphoTrust USA, that would allow users to display more up-to-date information.
As state and local governments become more confident with the idea of digital ID cards, expect to see them crop up in more places soon.
Pictures: Department of Foreign Affairs and Travel/PA Wire, Sam Greenhalgh’s UK National Identity Card (CC, non-modified), “Passport card” by U.S. Department of State