Every night after my family goes to sleep, I check the travel news one last time to make sure I haven’t missed any breaking news stories. This Los Angeles Times story caught my tired eyes. According to the article: “California is experimenting with digital driver’s licenses. Residents can download the CA DMV Wallet app on their smartphone and follow the instructions to scan their driver’s license, or ID. The mobile driver’s license program is in a pilot phase, limiting participation to 1.5 million people, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.” RELATED: The Lesson I Learned When I Lost My Driver’s License

Although I was so zonked, I didn’t want to take the chance of missing out so I immediately downloaded the CA DMV Wallet app, which is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Note: iPhone Users: Minimum requirements: iPhone 6 with iOS 13 and newer.
Android Users: Minimum requirements: Android 7 and newer. Android 10-based EMUI 10 devices are NOT supported.

I launched the app, followed the instructions, created a MyDMV account, typed in my personal information including my Social Security Number and ran downstairs to grab my wallet so I could scan the front and back of my drivers license. Then I had a futuristic-like selfie photo taken to confirm my identity. I didn’t know my phone could do what it did and all the colors and bright lights and excitement certainly woke me back up … which is why I’m writing about this now.

I’m excited because according to their website, “The mDL offers a quick and secure identity-check at airports, without handing over your phone. Speed through TSA PreCheck® at SFO and LAX. Control the information you share when purchasing adult beverages. Be among the first to carry your driver’s license on your phone by joining this voluntary pilot. The pilot is limited to 1.5 million participants, so sign up today.”

The main reason I’m excited is because as of today, September 6, 2023, over two dozen airports in the U.S. allow for Mobile Driver’s License and Digital Identification. Participating airports, per the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website, are:

  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Des Moines International Airport (DSM)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
  • Eastern Iowa Airport (CID)
  • Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT)
  • Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN)
  • John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Richmond International Airport (RIC)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Will Rogers World Airport (OKC)

However, Californians can’t get too excited as the California DMV website states, “Continue to carry your physical driver’s license or state-issued ID card. Law enforcement, state government agencies, and businesses aren’t yet accepting the mDL.” That’s a bummer but I think the operative word in that sentence is “yet.” Digital and biometric identification are the future and is going to make traveling so much quicker and easier.

I look forward to when I don’t have to worry about losing my physical driver’s license or passport and not standing in long immigration and security lines in many foreign countries. Fortunately, here in the U.S. I have Global Entry, TSA Pre and CLEAR so I currently don’t have to wait long while traveling domestically or returning from an international trip.

For step-by-step instructions on how to sign up and to see first-hand how your phone lights up with different colors, check out the California DMV’s two-minute YouTube video below.

YouTube video

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4 Comments On "Great News: California DMV's New Limited Pilot Program Allows Residents to Carry Driver's Licenses on Their Phones"
  1. T|

    That app I crap I tried three times to upload my license and it didn’t work this is going to cause so many problems for people 🤦🏽‍♀️

  2. Ginny|

    I went through terminal 4 at LAX earlier today and they wouldn’t accept the mDL.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good to know. they say why?

  3. Suzanna|

    On one hand it’s a great idea- but I don’t trust Calif. DMV or any of their agencies handling my personal information more than they already do… Maybe another country or state but not California.

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