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Enhanced Drivers Licenses: What Are They?

State-issued enhanced drivers licenses provide proof of  identity and U.S. citizenship. These new documents are being developed by many states to comply with travel rules under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Enhanced drivers licenses can be used by U.S. citizens instead of a passport to cross the border with Canada, Mexico. See more information about  the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requirements.

Enhanced drivers licenses will make it quicker and easier to cross the border back into the United States because they will contain

  • a vicinity Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that will signal a computer to pull up  your biographic and biometric data for the CBP Officer as you pull up to the border, and
  • a Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) or barcode that the CBP officer can read electronically if RFID isn't available.

Several border states (Arizona, California, Michigan, Texas, Vermont and Washington) are working with the Department to produce these enhanced drivers licenses.

Privacy Protection

No personally identifiable information will be stored on the card's RFID chip or be transmitted by the card. The card will use a unique identification number which will link to information contained in a secure database. This number will not contain any personal information.

When you get an enhanced drivers license you will also receive:

  • information on how to use, carry and protect your license, and
  • a shielded container that will prevent anyone from reading your license

More Information on Enhanced Drivers Licenses is available

This page was last reviewed/modified on January 11, 2008.