TSA expands acceptance of Colorado digital IDs for identity verification at Denver International Airport

Local Press Release
Thursday, November 16, 2023

DENVER - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Denver International Airport (DEN) is now accepting Colorado-issued digital driver licenses and identification cards at the airport’s North Security Checkpoint from TSA PreCheck®-eligible travelers who have added it to their Google Wallet.

The Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) has made the Colorado digital ID available for download to Android mobile phones. Since last November, state residents have been able to add their digital ID to Apple Wallet.

“TSA is pleased that Colorado has increased the number of people who are eligible to use a state-issued digital ID at the security checkpoint during the identity verification process. Expanding access is key to the success of this initiative,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Colorado Larry Nau. “We will continue to work with our state and private sector partners to bring the latest technologies and capabilities to the security process at DEN.”

Coloradans whose travel originates at DEN can use their digital ID for identity verification in the TSA PreCheck® lanes at the North Security Checkpoint. This is where TSA has the latest generation of Credential Authentication Technology referred to as CAT-2. The CAT-2 units are equipped with digital ID readers and a camera that captures a real-time photo of the traveler. Through a secure Internet connection, the units are also able to verify that an individual is ticketed for air travel, so the traveler does not need to show a boarding pass.

CAT-2 compares the traveler’s photo on the state-issued ID against the in-person, real-time photo. Once the unit confirms a match, a TSA officer verifies it and the traveler can proceed to security screening. TSA officers can perform additional passenger verification if needed. For travelers who do not have a digital ID, their physical credential can be scanned by the CAT-2 unit for identity verification.

Photos captured by a CAT unit are never stored or used for any other purpose than immediate identity verification. Travelers who do not wish to participate in the facial matching process can opt out in favor of an alternative identity verification process. 

DEN is one of 26 airports nationwide with CAT-2 units in place. Colorado is one of seven states that offer digital IDs for their residents. The other states include Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland and Utah.

Any traveler from these states who has a state-issued digital ID is eligible to use the CAT-2 unit’s reader in lieu of providing a physical photo ID to the TSA officer for identity verification. Travelers should continue to carry their physical driver license or photo ID.

CAT plays an important role in passenger identity verification. It improves a TSA officer’s ability to authenticate a traveler’s photo ID while also flagging inconsistencies associated with fraudulent and counterfeit travel documents.

Last November, the Colorado Department of Revenue announced that state residents could add their Colorado ID to Apple Wallet. TSA continues to integrate new technologies into its identity verification process. Read more about these programs at www.tsa.gov/digital-id