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What data is stored on an ID?

washington DC drivers license

Last updated on November 30th, 2023 at 11:34 am

You can easily read the data on the front of your ID or drivers license, but did you know that the same data is also stored on the back, inside the 2D barcode, and sometimes the magstripe?

What data is stored in the 2D barcode on the back of an ID?

The 2D barcode, also sometimes called a PDF417, contains all the information on the front of your ID. It can be parsed instantly when an ID is scnned.

2D barcode on the back of an ID
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Middle Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Street Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip Code
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color
  • Issue Date
  • Expiration Date
  • Over 21 Date (if under 21)
  • ID/License Number
  • License Class
  • Restrictions (Corrective Lens)
  • Endorsements
  • Sex
  • Is REAL ID
  • Organ Donor Status
  • County

Technically, an image could be stored inside a 2D barcode, however it would make the barcode too large to be printed on a small, ICAO-compliant ID card.

What data is stored in the magstripe on the back of an ID?

Some ID also have a magstripe. This is the black stripe on the top of the ID, which can be swiped. Magstripes are more commonly used on credit cards and can only contain a small amount of information.

Back of a driver's license

Typically, only name, date of birth, ID expiration date are stored on a magstripe. Because the amount of information that can be stored is so limited, many states are removing the magstripes from IDs.

What data is stored in a passport MRZ?

The machine readable zone (MRZ) code is a string of characters that appears on the bottom of the personal data page of a passport or a passport card. All global passports use the same font and spacing so that they can be easily read via optical character recognition technology.

  • The first line of the MRZ contains the document type (P=passport), the country code, and the individual’s passport number.
  • The second line has the passport holder’s first name, last name, and nationality.
  • The third line contains the passport holder’s date of birth, gender, and the document’s expiration date.

Because of the nature of the MRZ symbology, passports contain much less parsable data. Address fields, and fields such as height, weight, donor status, etc. are not present on these types of documents.

How do you read barcodes, MRZs, and magstripes?

Because the magstripe has fallen out of favor as a symbology, and there are no active drivers licenses or IDs that lack a 2D barcode, reading a magstripe is not essential for most businesses. The E-Seek M260 is the only commonly used scanner which still retains magstripe swiping functionality. It also has the ability to insert and read a 2D barcode.

All commonly sold ID scanners will have the ability to read 2D barcodes.

Most flatbed scanners will have the ability to read passports. A larger surface is required since the size of the MRZ is larger than the size of a PDF417 barcode.

Contact us to help select the best scanner for your ID or passport scanning needs.