Washington DC votes to allow digital driver’s licenses and ID cards

Washington DC’s city council has approved the use of digital driver’s licenses and IDs, joining Arizona, Georgia and other states, The Washington Post has reported. That gives the district’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the authority to issue digital credentials that can be stored on a smartphone or other mobile device. They could then be presented for entering government buildings, to purchase liquor or in case of police stops, for example. 

Digital IDs and driver’s licenses strongly entered the public conversation in September, when Apple announced that Wallet would hold driver’s licenses and other IDs in iOS 15. The TSA was slated to be the first place iPhone owners could use their digital identity cards, and Apple subsequently announced that Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky and Oklahoma would be early adopters of the program. Last month, however, Apple said it would delay the release of digital ID cards until 2022, rather than the end of 2021 as scheduled.

Washington DC residents will have the option of using physical or digital credentials and will not be required to show a digital ID on a mobile device. The bill passage brings the city “a step closer to the reality of digital credentials,” DC DMV director Gabriel Robinson told The Post. The DMV must now create a plan to to develop the credentials once the legislation is signed into law. 

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