Wallet IosSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • The TSA is to begin accepting digital ID cards at two airports in February.
  • Four airports should support the new ID cards, via Apple Wallet, by the end of March.
  • It isn't known which airports will be used as the digital ID card testbed.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin to accept accepting digital driver's licenses as forms of identification from February 2022, although only in two airports initially. The plan is to add more airports beginning March 2022, however.

Apple unveiled the support for IDs to be saved in its Wallet app during WWDC in June alongside an iOS 15 demo, but the feature has seen delays ever since. Now, according to the Secure Technology Alliance and a report by 9to5Mac, it seems that the TSA will begin to allow Mobile Driver's License (MDL) cards to be used at two airports from February with more coming online in March. Nobody is saying which airports will be involved, however.

During a panel about early mDL adoption, TSA shared its plans to begin accepting mDL use in airports at two state locations starting February of next year. The pilot program will add two additional states around March of 2022. TSA says standards-based digital ID's, such as state-issued mDL will help streamline and secure the identity verification process. 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.

Using the digital cards will work in much the same way that Apple Pay does — users will touch an NFC reader with their iPhone or Apple Watch and the data verification process will begin.