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The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has linked up with the Vehicle and Driver Licensing Agency (DVLA) to smooth the application process for driving licences.

It has removed the need to send in a passport when applying for a licence. Instead, the DVLA has begun to accept nine digit numbers from digital passports as proof of identity.

A link between the two organisations' systems makes it possible to confirm the identity. It also enables the DVLA to pick up the photograph and signature from the passport rather than requiring the applicant to submit them separately.

The system, which has been in place since the end of April, works for online and paper applications using the D1 form. It makes use of the Omnibase system, in which other government bodies are able to check details against the IPS database.

Speaking to Government Computing News, an IPS spokesperson said: "We're trying to use technology in a way that provides customer service benefits in terms of providing less hassle."

The spokesperson said one of the advantages would be that it saves applicants from placing their passports in the post. It has been an issue that people are increasingly worried over losing their mail.

It also makes it possible to check whether a passport used for an application has been lost or stolen, and is supporting the IPS's efforts to enhance background checks for identification.

There are also plans to enable financial institutions to phone a special IPS unit to check on the validity of a passport. The spokesperson said this has been trialled with positive results, and that there are plans to launch the service by the end of the year.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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