Digital drivers’ licences: can you make the switch yet?

Digital driver’s licences are increasingly accepted in Australian states, offering a convenient and more secure alternative to traditional laminated cards for millions of Australians. But not all states have given the green light to make the switch completely. 

Here is the low-down on getting a digital driver’s licence in Australia, and if – and when – you can ditch the plastic and make the switch in your state.

Where are we now?

Digital driver’s licences are now available for download via government service apps in New South Wales and South Australia, and are likely to be available in Queensland soon.

People who have digital licences will be able to verify their identity in person and online through a range of different portals. One added benefit is that they can be updated in real-time, meaning waiting for a renewed licence to arrive in the post is a thing of the past.

Digital driver’s licences are said to be more secure than plastic ones because they are much harder to counterfeit, containing secure credentials for authentication and not relying on digital images of physical cards.

Digital driver’s licences – NSW

Digital drivers licences are available in NSW, SA and QLD.

A digital driver licence is free to download via the Services NSW website, but the NSW Government has said that the digital licence ‘doesn’t replace your plastic card’. It recommends you still carry your card as a backup until venues like pubs and clubs are more used to seeing them and have the capacity to validate them onsite.

Digital driver’s licences – QLD

Queensland is still trialling digital driver licences, so not all Queensland motorists can access the app yet. The QLD Government states on qld.gov.au that digital licences ‘will not be compulsory to use’ and that ‘you have the choice to opt-in and your existing physical licences can still be used’.

Digital driver’s licences – SA

South Australia was the first state in Australia to introduce a rollout plan for digital licences in 2017. Now, they’re available to all drivers in the state with a Learner’s Permit, Provisional, Full or Heavy Vehicle Licence.

VIC, ACT, WA

Victoria does not offer the option to get a digital licence yet, but Victoria Police has said digital licences will be accepted as a form of identification from overseas or interstate visitors.

Other Australian states, including Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia, have announced plans to trial digital licence apps and will accept them from interstate or overseas visitors.

 

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