This article is reviewed regularly (on a monthly basis) by Wego’s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.

Last updated 25 February 2021

Identity cards, passports, tickets, boarding passes, and now, COVID-19 negative certificates… carrying and safeguarding these documents while travelling takes half the fun out of it, doesn’t it? Well thankfully, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs’ (GDRFA’s) latest innovation will be saving us from at least one of these travel-essentials: the passport.

Read on to know more about Dubai’s Smart Travel System’ and how you can use it to travel passport-free.

How the Smart Travel System works

The GDRFA has been bringing in cutting-edge innovation at the Dubai airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, since a long time back. Recently, in February 2021, taking cognizance of the pressing need in present times to make travel contact-less, it launched the ‘Biometric Passenger Journey’  at DXB in collaboration with the Emirates airline.

A staggering 122 smart gates at the airport have been upgraded to use biometric technology for the identification of passengers aged 17 and above. A blend of facial and iris recognition will replace the traditional printed passports, as part of the paper-free experiment of the Dubai authorities.

This will make checking in the luggage, security checks, immigration, boarding as well as disembarking much more convenient, not to mention time-saving. Travellers will be able to complete the passport control procedures in just five to nine seconds, without having to come in contact with the ground staff.

The airport’s 32 self-check-in and 16 bag drop kiosks are also completely touchless now. Travellers can control them by mobile phones without touching the screens.

A Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: The first time you use the smart pathways, you’ll have to register your passport at the check-in counter. Your registration will be valid on the system till the expiry of your passport.

Step 2: Once registered, simply walk through the smart tunnel, which has been fitted with a biometric scanner. All you need to is show your face and looking into the green dot in the camera.

Step 3: At the boarding gates too, just use the biometric machine to be able to hop on the plane- with your documents safely in your bag!

Business and First-Class Passengers

Eight exclusive registration terminals have been set up at the pr-class check-in counters of Emirates Airlines. A dedicated smart tunnel has been set up for them near the immigration counter at the first and business-class departure terminal.

These premium travellers can also access the lounges using the biometric facilities.