Eurostar is introducing face scanners, so you won’t need your passport to travel

All you need to do is upload a selfie when you book your train ticket and facial recognition technology will do the rest

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Photograph: EQRoy/

Thanks to lockdown, our passports have sat unused for so long we’re not even sure where they are any more. In the future, much like hugging your mates without thinking about germs, we might not even need them, and that stressful pre-holiday hunt could become a thing of the past. 

Eurostar is poised to introduce facial recognition technology at check-in, meaning you won’t need your passport to board one of its international trains. 

The new system, which is set to launch in March 2021, will allow passport-free, contactless train journeys between the UK and France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

How will it work? Passengers will have the option to choose the facial recognition pre-boarding option when they book their tickets. Then all you need to do is upload a selfie and a photo of your passport before you travel. When you arrive to catch your train, your face will be scanned and matched to the selfie and your passport snap – and you’ll be able to pass through passport control and any ticket checks without needing physical documents. 

The aim is that it will speed up boarding, reduce queues in stations and also limit contact between staff and passengers – so everyone can keep their germs to themselves and enjoy travelling again. 

Ready to board? Check out these stunning European train journeys

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