TSA adds mobile driver licenses to approved list of identity in nine states

Travelers will now have a bit of an easier time getting through TSA now that mobile drive licenses are approved for use.
TSA now accepting Digital ID in select states, airports
TSA now accepting Digital ID in select states, airports / Scott Olson/GettyImages

Over the years since the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has been tasked with the daunting task of making sure the safety of passengers and aircraft is done at the highest standards. With that, the world around us has improved drastically with new technological advances. Enter the era of Digital Identification. As various governments across the world and the United States begin rolling out digital forms of driver's licenses, the adaptation continues to evolve beyond the roads. The TSA is now accepting mobile driver's licenses and identification cards as part of the acceptable list of Digital IDs in nine states and select airports with New York being added to the list in early June.

Currently, the TSA offers digital identification as an acceptable form of identity in 22 states and territories. Of the 22 states and territories, TSA-compliant mobile driver's licenses (mDLs) and identification cards have become part of the system in nine of those states. The states included are Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, New York and Utah. An active list of the airports accepting mDLs is limited and the TSA has an updated list of airports ready for viewing on its website.

Here's what you need to know:

Are mobile Drivers Licenses required as a digital form of identity?

No. In fact, participating in the use of digital identity is completely optional no matter if you are in a state or territory that has adopted digital forms of identity. If you use the technology, the TSA will take your picture and simply compare it to the digital or physical identification, and will be deleted as soon as you exit the security check-in area.

How do mobile driver's licenses work in the TSA check process?

First, you need to add your state-issued drivers license or identification card to your phone's digital identification app or digital wallet Most notably Apple Wallet or Google Wallet in most states. These must be TSA-approved for you to use them. A full list of airports and acceptable digital ID applications can be found on the TSA website's FAQ section.

The process is generally straightforward as you will scan your Digital ID QR code or tap your mobile phone onto the digital ID reader and then consent to sharing your digital ID with the TSA. Afterward, follow the TSA agents' instructions as a camera snaps your photo and compares your identity.

If I have a digital ID, does this mean I don't need my physical one?

This is a great question and the simple answer is that you are still required to carry your physical identification with you just in case your digital ID cannot be verified by the system.

The basic use of mobile driver's licenses and identification is designed to help increase security and improve fraud protection for you as an individual and has been proven to help improve the speed at which is needed to verify your identity. As it has been established, you are not required to participate in the use of mobile driver's licenses and identification cards, it is simply an option to help speed up and streamline the process.

It is known that Delta and American Airlines do participate in the TSA Pre-Check system. Regardless of what airline you fly, it is always key to make sure the airline offers some benefits and tools to use in the digital check-in and screening process.