Driver License and Identification Standards

Standards are critical tools needed to achieve uniformity and trust. The intent of the driver's license and ID card (DL/ID) standard is to improve the security of DL/ID cards issued by AAMVA's members and to improve the level of interoperability among cards issued by all jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction's laws and regulations determine its driver's license issuance process and its associated card requirements. As a result, the intent of the standard is to provide jurisdictions with guidance on the driver's license/ID card design standards that provide for a reliable source of identification while also reducing a card holder's exposure to identity theft and fraud.

AAMVA does not provide sample DL/ID documents/specimens/exemplars from our principal members. For questions related to such requests please contact the issuing authorities directly.

The work toward an international standard for the driver's license is done within the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) Joint Technical Committee for Information Technology (JTC1), Subcommittee for Identification Cards and Related Devices (SC17), and Working Group 10 (WG10). The international standard (18013) establishes guidelines in the format and content of motor vehicle driver licenses (DLs) to support the requirements of national or regional motor vehicle authorities and international conventions. It creates a common basis for international use and recognition of DLs without impeding individual national and regional authorities in taking care of their specific needs. An ISO DL is a document issued by a government agency granting an individual permission to drive a motor vehicle within that agency’s jurisdiction or region with the goal of ensuring the safety of individuals and property.

DLs and related documents are defined within the standard in a broad framework of categories as documents for separate uses or function including passenger vehicles, commercial transport vehicles, other related traffic safety applications (e.g. transport driver recorder card), and other card functions at the discretion of individual national/regional motor vehicle authorities. They can be enhanced by the adoption of machine-readable technologies.

The standard does not propose a global system standard for DLs outside the actual document.

It addresses the following card aspects and technologies:

  • Physical characteristics
  • Magnetic stripe
  • Optical memory
  • Integrated circuit cards with contacts
  • Integrated circuit cards without contacts
  • Bar codes, one and two dimensional
  • Optical character recognition
  • Digital (digitized) images and signature

The standard defines several optional techniques, including their related process, to be used at the option of the relevant national and regional authorities. It additionally addresses options related to the security framework for technologies and their related process. This includes, but is not limited to, security features, encryption, digital certificates, etc.

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