Get us in your inbox


Your smartphone can now be used as your driver's licence in NSW

Written by
Maxim Boon

A digitally liberated society in the not-so-distant future may well look back on the first couple of decades of the 21st century and wonder, “How the hell did they cope with so many hard copies of things?”

It’s not that technology isn’t replacing outdated items; our smartphones can now stand in for our debit and credit cards, entertainment tickets, boarding passes and even the humble pen and paper. But when it comes to official documents and IDs, the digital revolution is yet to take hold.

Until now, that is. Following successful pilots in Dubbo and the eastern suburbs of Sydney, the NSW government will now be offering virtual driver licences to the rest of the state, which can be displayed on a smart device without the need for that pesky piece of easily-lost plastic that’s currently clogging up your purse or wallet.

The digital document is accessible through the Service NSW app, and it will (in theory) be accepted as proof of age ID for getting into bars, pubs and clubs, as well as at bottle shops, petrol stations and tobacconists.

Of course, there are certain provisos in place for this initiative: your screen must be crack-free and sufficiently bright for the digital licence to be valid. On the upside, you do not require mobile reception or data to access your licence, and you are not required to hand over your device when someone is checking your licence, so you can keep your precious phone safe and sound.

However, with every great technological leap comes a period of adjustment as it gradually becomes accepted as the new normal, and this is expected to be the case with digital licences. Service NSW advises users of the digital licence to continue carrying their hard copy for the time being, particularly when travelling interstate or abroad, while bouncers, bartenders and other age-restricted service providers get up to speed. 

For full details on how to register for your digital licence, download the Service NSW app from Google Play or App Store, then head over to the Service NSW Website.

Want to test out your new digital proof of age ID? Head to one of Sydney's 50 best bars.

Latest news