TRAVELLERS arriving into Australia from this month will be the first to experience the country’s new Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD), an innovative government platform which aims to provide a single source of data to smooth the inbound journey.
The initial phase of the program was unveiled to AFTA members during a webinar last month, with an Australian Border Force spokesperson confirming the system would replace the incoming passenger cards currently required to be completed in-flight by all incoming passengers.
The system is not mandatory, but will help simplify the collection and dissemination of passenger data, which is currently used in various forms by about 50 government organisations.
The DPD application will be available on a website as well as via a smartphone app on both iOS and Android platforms, with the app version having the ability to automatically populate fields by reading the chip in ePassports.
A “liveness test” is incorporated to ensure the app is being used by a real person and to avoid attempts to defraud the system.
The first version of the DPD will come into use this month, and will replace the Australian Travel Declaration which was introduced recently to collect data on the COVID-19 vaccination status of incoming passengers.
Adults will be able to add children to their DPD, and the first time it is used, the app will enable the saving of vaccination and profile information for reuse on future trips.
Initially the details of an approved DPD will have to be shown to check-in staff, but a further upgrade scheduled for March aims to integrate the sending of passenger health and vaccination status directly to airline departure control systems.
Border Force plans to deploy additional liaison staff at key airports around the world to facilitate the rollout of the DPD, while various options are being considered for checking by exit marshals in airport arrival halls, including printing a QR code on SmartGate tickets.