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‘A big step forward': Utah mobile licenses now accepted at some TSA PreCheck lines

‘This is a big step forward in the acceptance of (mobile driver’s licenses) in Utah, one that we expect will increase the number of Utahns who opt into the program out of a desire for convenience, security, and ownership of their identification,’ said Chris Caras, the director of the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Driver License Division

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Travelers mill about the main terminal after passing through the security checkpoint at Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City on Feb. 20. The Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday that it now accepting Utah mobile driver’s licenses as a valid credential at the airport’s PreCheck lines.

Ryan Sun, Deseret News

The Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday that it is now accepting Utah mobile driver’s licenses as a valid credential at its PreCheck lines at more than a dozen airports across the nation, including Salt Lake City International Airport.

"This is a big step forward in the acceptance of (mobile driver's licenses) in Utah, one that we expect will increase the number of Utahns who opt into the program out of a desire for convenience, security, and ownership of their identification," said Chris Caras, the director of the Utah Department of Public Safety's Driver License Division, in a statement.

Utah launched its mobile driver’s licenses program in 2021, using an app created by GET Group.

The Utah Legislature set it up through a bill passed in 2019. It was created as a way to make contactless information transfers with enhanced privacy, while also adding the convenience of having it on a cellphone.

Utahns with a valid state driver's license or identification card can register for a mobile license by taking a selfie and following registration instructions in the app. Once matched, the license can only be downloaded onto the person's phone. The app is free for the first six months but then $1.99 per year after that.

But it's been a slow process rolling out over the past two years. Mobile licenses are currently accepted at a few places across the state: America First Credit Union and Utah Community Credit Union branches, three Harmons grocery store locations, a handful of Utah liquor stores and the Midtown Community Health Center in Ogden.

Wednesday's announcement signals the first out-of-state acceptance of the Utah mobile driver's license.

Alex Kambanis, the president and managing director of GET Group North America, said the change means people who have a mobile license won't have to fumble around for their wallets as they go through the TSA PreCheck lines at Salt Lake City International Airport.

"We are excited to work with TSA and other entities as they recognize the efficiency, enhanced security and privacy of mobile driver licenses," he said. "We're proud to offer a (mobile driver's license) as an option for Utahns at Salt Lake City and other airports nationwide."