European eDriving license and security

The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) aims to reboot Europe’s economy and help Europe’s citizens and businesses to get the most out of digital technologies. This flagship initiative under Europe 2020 would benefit the internal market, i.e. the free flow of goods, people, services and capital. One key element on this agenda is the electronic identification of citizens. Many regulations of the European Commission underline this, such as:

In eight of the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU) there is no mandatory or optional national identity document in use. For example, the United Kingdom has not issued any ID document since 1951. Given these circumstances, the driving license often takes over the role of a ‘de facto’ identity document. It is used for example for check-in in hotels, to open a new bank account, as an identity document on the road and in many other cases.

In late 2005 the European Commission and the related Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) registered 110 different valid driving license documents in use that differ in design, material, data set, optical security and validity period. Most of them are written in the national language of the country of issue. In 2006 the European Commission published the new directive 2006/126/EC in order to harmonize the driving license document in format, data set, optical security and validity period. The deadline for issuing this new document was set for 19 January 2013, the use of an electronic driving license (with a chip) being optional. In the case of electronic driving licenses, a full-face photo must be stored on the card; two fingerprint images are optional. A validity period of 5 years is provided for professional and commercial drivers. The objective is to avoid outdated photos on the license to ensure a reliable authentication. The desired form of this license is that of credit card: ISO 18013. Different organizations and companies from different countries (USA, Japan, Korea, Australia, South Africa and Europe in particular) are working on this achievement. For more information, see

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