How the DVS works

The Document Verification Service (DVS) confirms that the details on an evidence of identity document match records held by the government authority that issued it.

The DVS checks if the details are still valid and not expired or cancelled.

The DVS does not:

  • make a decision on a person’s identity
  • provide access to an issuer’s database
  • verify the authenticity of physical documents
  • verify identities of clients presenting those documents
  • verify documents for individuals—only approved organisations can use the DVS.

Within seconds, the DVS can validate documents and credentials issued by Australian Government, state and territory government agencies.

Verifiable documents

The following Australian evidence of identity credentials can be matched through the DVS:

  • birth certificates
  • certificates of registration by descent*
  • change of name certificates
  • citizenship certificates*
  • driver licences*
  • ImmiCards*
  • marriage certificates
  • Medicare cards*
  • passports*
  • visas*.

* These documents are available for matching by both government and non-government users.

Proof of age card records cannot currently be matched through the DVS.

The DVS continues to explore opportunities to extend the scope of documents that can be verified. Details will be made available in due course.

The matching process

The DVS matching process involves a user, gateway service provider, issuer and the DVS hub:

  • User—an organisation authorised to use the DVS to match identifying information.
  • Gateway Service Provider—an organisation authorised to direct information match requests to and from the DVS Hub on behalf of approved users.
  • Issuer—an organisation that issues the identifying information (also known as the official record holder).
  • DVS hub—a technical router that securely directs requests between users and issuers.

Workflow of the DVS process -steps outlined in the text

The steps in a DVS matching process are:

  1. A person presents information to an organisation as evidence of their identity, usually as part of an application for goods or service. This could be done in person, online, or by phone.
  2. The DVS user enters identifying information such as the person’s name, date of birth and the credential number into a computer linked to the DVS.
  3. Using a secure line, the information is sent via the DVS hub to the issuer, where an automated check of the organisation’s data will verify whether the information provided matches the information held by the issuer. The issuer sends an automatic response via the DVS hub to confirm or deny whether the details match the database records it holds.
  4. The user receives one of the following results, usually within five seconds:
    • [Y] – matched
    • [N] – not matched
    • [D] – document is invalid or not electronically captured
    • [S] – system availability error

The DVS is generally considered more reliable than screen-scraping or web-transacting, as screen-scraping may not check all of the details you think you are checking. As an unauthorised verification method, it is unlikely to be as accurate and current as a DVS check.

Unexpected results

On some occasions, a document may return an unexpected result.

Some of the common reasons for match failures are:

  • the information was keyed incorrectly
  • the information did not match the record because the document issuer record is incorrect
  • the system was unavailable at the time
  • the document is fraudulent.

It is a principle of the DVS that an individual cannot be denied access to a service or benefit because a document could not be verified through the DVS. If a document cannot be verified using the DVS, the individual will need to contact the business or agency they are dealing with about other identification options.

If an individual believes that the information on the document record is inaccurate, they should contact the government agency that issued it. For example, the road agency; registry of births, deaths and marriages; Australian Passport Office or the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.