Washington, DC may soon be offering digital driver’s licenses to its residents. To that end, the city council has passed a new bill that will allow residents to use a digital ID in any situation where they would previously have had to present a physical ID card.
In practical terms, that means that DC residents will be able to present their smartphones when buying alcohol, entering age-restricted venues, or even when getting stopped by the police. Those who receive a digital ID will be able to store that ID in a wallet on their mobile device.
The IDs themselves will be distributed by the Washington Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, the district does not yet have its own mobile ID technology, and will either have to develop or procure it at some point in the future. Either way, the law will not force anyone to use a digital ID, and residents will have the option of using a physical or a digital document.
As it stands, Washington is following in the footsteps of several other states that have already voiced their support for mobile driver’s licenses. Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, and Oklahoma have all indicated that they will release digital cards that can be stored in an upcoming version of the Apple Wallet, though Apple itself pushed back the launch of that Wallet from late 2021 to sometime in 2022. The tech giant announced that the Apple Wallet would offer support for digital ID cards in iOS 15 back in June of 2021.
Arizona, Delaware, Oklahoma, and Iowa are some of the states that are already trialing some version of a mobile driver’s license. All four of those projects feature mobile identity technology from IDEMIA. NXP, meanwhile, has previously provided mobile ticketing technology for Washington’s metro transit system.