Keep Your Driver's License in Your Smartphone
Welcome to the Era of Mobile IDs

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JANUARY2022

The era of mobile IDs has been launched with this new driver’s license that can be stored and used on smartphones, replacing the one that had to be carried around in wallets. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety (Minister Jeon Hae-cheol) and the Korean National Police Agency (Commissioner General Kim Chang-yong) announced that a trial period for the “mobile driver’s license” will begin on January 27, 2022, launching the first mobile ID ever created for the public. During the trial period, mobile driver’s licenses will be issued at the Seoul Seobu Driver’s License Examination Office, the Daejeon Driver’s License Examination Office, and the civil service offices of police stations that are affiliated with these examination offices. In July, the issuance of a mobile driver’s license will be available throughout the whole country after a 6-month trial period.

The government has been pushing to introduce mobile IDs as a key task of digital government innovation since the current plastic ID cards present multiple issues, such as the inconvenience of carrying a physical card, the simplicity of forging and falsifying an official ID card, their weak durability, and the exposure of personal information. The government has explained the background of the mobile ID: last year, a mobile ID for government employees was adopted to check the safety and convenience of the new system and some improvements were made based on the results. The mobile driver’s license is now being introduced as the first mobile ID for the general public. The mobile driver’s license is a driver’s license issued on a personal smartphone in accordance with the Road Traffic Act. It will be additionally issued to applicants who have a driver's license (including those who are receiving their first driver’s license). This mobile license has the same legal effect as the current plastic driver’s license card. Accordingly, the new mobile driver’s license can be used anywhere the current license is used, such as public/financial institutions, car rental/car-sharing companies, airports, hospitals, convenience stores, liquor stores, passenger terminals, and accommodation facilities.

In addition, the mobile driver’s license, as an integrated online and offline ID, can also be used in online environments. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety announced that various security technologies such as blockchain and encryption were applied to ensure the safety of the mobile driver’s license.

The mobile driver’s license can be issued on only one device registered under the holder’s name. Once a driver's license is reported as lost, the mobile driver's license will also be locked and will no longer be visible on mobile.  

- Applying for a Mobile Driver’s License

In order to secure the highest level of credibility as an ID, people who wish to receive their first mobile driver’s license will need to go through an in-person identification check by visiting a Driver’s License Examination Office or civil service office of a police station. During the trial period, the mobile driver’s license is issued at the Seoul Seobu Driver’s License Examination Office, the Daejeon Driver’s License Examination Office, and the civil service offices of police stations that are affiliated with these examination offices. Anyone, regardless of residence, can visit these offices to receive their mobile driver’s license. 

To receive a mobile driver’s license, license holders will have to install the “Mobile ID (Driver’s License)” app from an app marketplace and choose between two methods: receiving a mobile driver’s license by using a driver’s license IC (Integrated Circuit) card or receiving a mobile driver’s license in person by visiting the Driver’s License Examination Office. To receive a mobile driver’s license with a driver’s license IC card (Method 1), license holders are required to replace their current driver’s license card with a driver’s license IC card. Applications for the latter can be made on the “Safe Driving” website (www. safedriving.or.kr) of the Korea Road Traffic Authority*. Successful applicants can then visit a designated Examination Office or the civil service office of an affiliated police station to pick up their new IC card.  

The mobile driver’s license can then be issued by simply tapping the driver’s license IC card on the back of a smartphone and completing the identification process. When a smartphone is lost or changed, the mobile card can be reissued to the new smartphone by using the IC card, without having to revisit the Driver’s License Examination Office or a police station. During the trial period, the replacement (from regular card to IC card) fee is set at KRW 8,000, the same as the regular card replacement fee. The driver’s license IC cards will be issued to 80,000 people, on a first-come-first-served basis.  

To receive a mobile driver’s license in person by visiting the Driver’s License Examination Office (Method 2), applicants will simply need to scan a QR code installed at the counter in the Examination Office by using the “Mobile ID” app. Mobile card issuances will be free of charge during the trial period. In this case, however, the holder will have to revisit the Driver’s License Examination Office to reissue a mobile card if they lose or change their smartphone.   

- Verifying IDs with a mobile driver’s license

The mobile driver’s license can be used anywhere in the country where the current driver’s license is used, even during the trial period. Staff members who check a visitor's identity using the mobile driver's license can verify their information by scanning the QR code on the mobile driver’s license with the “Mobile ID Verification App.”  

When simply checking the mobile driver's license with the naked eye, it is important to check whether the background moves and the current time is displayed to make sure it is not a forged or falsified image.

From January 27, when the mobile driver’s license issuance service starts, Woori Bank (bank), NICE Information & Telecommunication (convenience store: CU and GS25), TeamO2 (car rental service), Green Car (car-sharing service), Hwikgo (electric kickboard-sharing service), Plantynet (unmanned vending machine), and Korea Information Certificate Authority (authentication certificate) will offer services that use the mobile driver’s license. 

The Ministry of the Interior and Safety and the Korean National Police Agency are planning to continuously search for and develop new convenient services using the mobile driver's license, such as identification on public websites and unmanned stores.

- More convenience in everyday life and new innovative services expected

The introduction of the mobile driver’s license is expected to contribute to the creation of various contact-free innovative services and bring greater convenience to the people.

First of all, it is expected to eliminate the inconvenience of carrying a physical ID card around since people will simply need to have their driver's license in their smartphone.

In addition, the mobile driver’s license can prevent any excessive exposure of personal information by providing only the information required by the other party. For example, it is possible to provide only driving qualification details for car rental services or details regarding age for cigarette/liquor purchases. 

In particular, given that this mobile driver's license can be used, not only in offline environments, but also in contact-free online environments, businesses are expected to create various innovative services related to the mobile driver's license. The contact-free environments mentioned here include online proof of driving qualifications, user identification for online certificate applications, and age verification at alcohol vending machines.

Starting with the mobile driver’s license, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety plans to continuously expand the use of mobile identification cards to “Certificates of the Distinguished Service to the State (The National Honoree)”, “Disability Registration Cards (Welfare Card)”, “Youth Cards”, and “Residence Cards" (for foreign nationals) through consultations with relevant ministries.

On January 27, 2022 there was a ceremony for the launch of the mobile driver’s license at the Seoul Seobu Driver’s License Examination Office. At this ceremony, the Minister of the Interior and Safety, Jeon Hae-cheol, and the Korean National Police Agency Commissioner General, Kim Chang-yong, demonstrated the mobile driver's license's issuance methods and usage examples.

Minister of the Interior and Safety, Jeon Hae-cheol, said, “This new mobile driver’s license that can be used both online and offline is a safe, convenient, and innovative identification method. It plays an important role in opening the era of mobile IDs. Safety and convenience were our top priorities so that people feel safe when using the mobile driver’s license.” He added, “Mobile IDs, which are starting with the mobile driver’s license, are expected to contribute greatly to the creation of various contact-free innovative services and bring greater convenience to the people.”

Korean National Police Agency Commissioner General, Kim Chang-yong, said, “The mobile driver’s license is expected to greatly improve the convenience of everyday life. In particular, if the use of the mobile driver’s license is expanded on the long term, it will play a critical role in traffic safety by preventing people from renting a vehicle with someone else’s driver’s license. We will continue to make every effort to discover and upgrade what needs to be improved in order to provide the people with more convenient and safe services.”

 


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