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Document Verification Service

The Document Verification Service (DVS) is one of the key initiatives of the Council of Australian Governments' National Identity Security Strategy, which is managed by the Attorney-General's Department on behalf of all jurisdictions.

How it works

The DVS is a national online system that allows organisations to take information taken from a person's identity document, with their consent, and compare this against the corresponding record of the document issuing agency.

These checks are conducted in real time to inform decisions that rely upon the confirmation of a person's identity. It provides a key tool for organisations that are seeking to prevent the enrolment or registration of customers, clients and even staff who may be using fraudulent identities.

Identity documents that can be verified include:

  • birth, marriage and change-of-name certificates
  • citizenship certificates
  • driver licences
  • Medicare cards
  • passports
  • ImmiCards
  • visas.

Videos about how the DVS works and the benefits to businesses are available from the Attorney-General's Department YouTube channel.

Open to private sector businesses

From 31 March 2015, the new DVS expanded access arrangements have taken effect. Businesses with a reasonable need to use a Commonwealth identifier to verify their client's identity may now be eligible to access the DVS.

More information on private sector access can be found on the Document Verification Service website.

Increased confidence and efficiency

DVS verifications have been available to government users since 2009 and are currently being used by more than 30 Commonwealth, state and territory agencies. User agencies consider that the DVS affords them improved data quality and greater confidence in making identity-related decisions.

In addition to supporting more robust identity proofing processes, the DVS can also provide significant cost and time savings. One agency reported a reduction of more than 70 per cent in processing times in its call centre after implementing DVS checks. Others have estimated a reduction of 3000 postal items per year.

Similarly, independent modelling has shown that private sector users of the DVS can save up to $10 and 17 minutes per transaction, when compared with other identity verification methods.

Promoting privacy

The DVS is not a database. It does not store any personal information.

Requests to verify a document via the DVS are encrypted and sent via a secure communications pathway to the document issuing agency. DVS checks are based on informed consent and are conducted against agencies' existing information holdings, without retaining personal information once the check has been completed.

If a document matches information held by the issuing agency, a simple 'yes' response is transmitted to the querying agency; otherwise a 'no' response is returned indicating that the document details did not match and so were not verified.

The design and operation of the DVS has been informed by a rigorous, independent Privacy Impact Assessment.

The expansion of DVS access to private sector organisations was also informed by a further, dedicated Privacy Impact Assessment.

On 31 March 2015, private sector access to the DVS was further expanded in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles. This expansion was also informed by an independent Privacy Impact Assessment.

In addition to its privacy-enhancing design, use of the DVS further promotes privacy when compared to other alternative methods of identity verification. In many cases, use of the DVS may reduce the need for organisations to store copies of identity information.