The Liechtenstein government wants to issue digital driver’s licenses in 2021 that will be valid throughout the EEA. That makes Liechtenstein one of the first countries to issue digital driver’s licenses, also beating Switzerland to the punch.

The Liechtenstein government is working on a digital driver’s license. Already in 2021, drivers should be able to show their documents on their smartphones instead of carrying a physical license.

Otto Frommelt, Director of the Office for Road Traffic (ASV, Amt für Strassenverkehr), said his department is cooperating with the Office of Information Technology to come up with a digital solution. “We can safely carry our official documents with us, even if we have lost the paper or forgot it somewhere,” says Frommelt.

Liechtenstein citizens will be able to access it via “eID.li,” the official app of the Liechtenstein administration. The app came into existence in April 2020 and allows users to access their electronic identity documents and also their personal vehicle data.

Valid in the entire European Economic Area

Even better, the digital license will be valid within the entire European Economic Area (EEA), according to Frommelt. Within the EEA, governments are not only accepting digital versions of official documents but also encouraging their use. That should make physical driver’s licenses obsolete within the next years.

Frommelt still recommends Liechtenstein citizens to carry a physical license as well when driving abroad, at least during the first phase of the digital roll-out. “It will probably take a few years until the police abroad are getting familiar with digital documents and be able to read it,” comments Frommelt.

That’s also why Liechtenstein plans to provide a multilingual announcement via their official website that confirms the validity of the digital document. Drivers can then show the announcement to the police in case there is any trouble.

Liechtenstein is one of the first to issue a digital driver’s license

This initiative is significant for two reasons: First, it’s simply practical. There is no need to carry around licenses, passports, or car documents in the 21st century anymore. Issuing a digital solution is easier for users and cheaper for governments.

Second, it’s good PR for Liechtenstein that the country is one of the first offering digital driver licenses. The Republic of Kosovo was the very first that offer e-licenses already in early 2018. Norway launched it in October 2019. Now it’s Liechtenstein’s turn.

In Switzerland, the parliament had rejected a proposal for digital licenses in 2019. In principle, the parliament approved of the idea but needed a detailed examination first to clarify the financial and administrative efforts of such a project. There is no roadmap to issue a digital license in Switzerland at this point.

The digital license would be another milestone in Liechtenstein’s efforts to create a digital administration. It should make public services easily accessible, more efficient, and more cost-effective. Already today, all Liechtenstein citizens and foreigners living or working in Liechtenstein can get an eID. The driver’s license is born out of the same idea and a step in the right direction.

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