State of the digital ID in Louisiana
Louisiana became the first state with fully operational electronic ID (eID) and mobile driver’s license (mDL) in 2018. As of June 2023, more than 66% of eligible Louisiana residents have downloaded and are actively using LA Wallet.
LA Wallet is officially supported by the Office of the Governor, Alcohol Tobacco Control (ATC), Secretary of State’s Elections, Louisiana Law Enforcement, and casinos and gaming establishments. This means that the license can be used for alcohol and tobacco purchases, for voting, and for entry to casinos, respectively.
The app doesn’t simply display an image of a physical Louisiana driver license; it retrieves all license data from the OMV database to create a pixel-perfect and high-resolution rendering of document. The app stores the digital license, so users can access it ‒ anytime, even without an internet connection.
This driving license app is highly secure and protects personal information. Karen St. Germain, OMV Commissioner, says they’ve tested the app “with all industry-standard security measures.”
The Louisiana State Police adopted a strict “hands-off” and “no-touch” policy so that the ID can be viewed and scanned without the phone changing hands. This policy has generated demand for digital ID scanning technologies. As such, Louisiana is one of the first states in the US where a digital ID or mobile drivers license is considered a legal replacement for a physical ID, and can be used when interacting with law enforcement, voting, and other high compliance scenarios.
Setting up LA Wallet
Louisiana residents who want to set up their digital driver’s license should visit the App Store or Google Play Store to download the LA Wallet app.
Once the app is installed, users can create their personal account by entering their email address and a secure password. Next, users are required to create a four-digit PIN to ensure an extra level of security. LA wallet offers Touch ID or Face ID to access the app. Once the app is set up, a user can add their driver’s license.
To add their current driver’s license to LA Wallet, residents can use the camera of their mobile phone to scan the barcode on the back of their physical license or enter the required information manually. Users should fill in their name, number of license, and audit number. More information, including an educational video, is available on the LA Wallet website.
Digital ID app functionality in LA Wallet
The LA Wallet app offers valuable functionality. When displaying the front of the ID, the mDL displays a banner showing whether or not the ID is valid, along with the time since the information was updated. Users can flip their digital license to reveal a 2D barcode on the back that can be scanned using a standard ID scanner.
The digital ID is valid until the expiration date of the user’s physical driver’s license, which is typically 6 years. Afterward, a user should buy a new digital driver’s license via LA Wallet. If your driver’s license is set to expire in 180 days (90 days for digital ID), a yellow “Renew License” button will display on the home screen of LA Wallet. The app will display terms and conditions for license renewal, including the fee breakdown.
If a resident’s driver’s license is nearing expiration, but the option to renew doesn’t appear in the app, online renewal is not available. The most common reason is that the individual renewed their license online or via mail for the current insurance.
The LAWallet app also stores state fishing & hunting licenses, and COVID-19 vaccination cards.
Additionally, LAWallet can be used for digital identity verification. Many adult websites have integrations which allow for residents to share their LAWallet credentials to verify their age.
Digital driver’s license advantages
The existence of a digital driver’s license has raised many issues with regard to how to protect a resident’s personal property ‒ their phone ‒ when showing their mDL or eID to anyone other than law enforcement. The Louisiana State Police adopted a strict “hands-off” and “no-touch” policy so that the ID can be viewed and scanned without the phone changing hands. This policy has generated demand for digital ID scanning technologies.