TSA Will Soon Accept Digital IDs at Select Airport Checkpoints

TSA Apple Wallet IDs

TSA to Accept Apple Wallet IDs Starting in February 2022

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will soon begin to accept mobile driver’s licenses (mDL) as forms of identification. Apple introduced an Apple Wallet update in June and said it was working to ensure you could use it to get through airport security. Now the TSA says that will be possible at two airports on February 2022.

If successful, the test will expand to airports in two more states the following month. The  program is expected to expand to other platforms in the future.

Driver licenses are still one of the most popular forms of IDs in the United States. And they are also the most used proof of ID when it comes to air travel.

The pace of mDL adoption has tripled in 2021, Secure Tech Alliance reports. A mobile driver’s license is a digital representation of the information contained on a physical driver’s license or ID card. mDLs offer enhanced security by requiring a cryptographic protocol that assures verifiers that the mDL or mID was issued by a trusted authority, such as a Department of Motor Vehicles. You never “show” your mDL on a phone screen to anyone. This cryptographic mechanism also prevents alteration of the digital ID, eliminating the threat of counterfeit credentials.

The secure verification process kicks off with just an NFC tap or QR scan, which is how it will be used at the two airports under the pilot program. Instead of TSA staff examining a physical ID card, manually comparing a traveler’s ID photo to their face, and verifying flight information, a machine will automate the process. A TSA staff member will be present to oversee and validate the verification.

The Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration also intend to update the REAL ID Act to  implement regulatory changes necessary to enable travelers’ use of mobile identity documents.


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