Australia Is Testing Virtual Passports
Australia is going to be the first country to have virtual passports. Presumably, the passport data will be in the cloud somewhere, and you’ll access it with an app or a URL or maybe just the passport number.
On the one hand, all a passport needs to be is a pointer into a government database with all the relevant information and biometrics. On the other hand, not all countries have access into all databases. When I enter the US with my US passport, I’m sure no one really needs the paper document—it’s all on the officers’ computers. But when I enter a random country, they don’t have access to the US government database; they need the physical object.
Australia is trialing this with New Zealand. Presumably both countries will have access into each others’ databases.