U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Government Website

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Safely connect using HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Home
  2. Topics
  3. Border Security
  4. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
  5. Enhanced Drivers Licenses: What Are They?

Enhanced Drivers Licenses: What Are They?

Enhanced Drivers Licenses (EDLs) are state-issued enhanced drivers licenses that provide proof of identity and U.S. citizenship. They are issued in a secure process, and include technology that makes travel easier. EDLs are a low-cost, convenient option for entering the United States from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean through a land or sea port of entry, in addition to serving as a permit to drive.

DHS has been working with individual states to enhance their drivers licenses and identification documents to comply with travel rules under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), effective June 1, 2009.

EDLs make it easier for U.S. citizens to cross the border into the United States because they include:

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

The application for an EDL depends on where you live. It is currently only available to residents of the following states:

  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Washington

DHS worked with Canadian provincial and federal officials to change EDLs as another option to the Canadian passport. Four Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec) are issuing EDLs to Canadian citizens. Canadian citizens can present an EDL when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean through a land or sea port of entry.

No personally identifiable information (PII) is stored on the card's RFID chip or can be transmitted electronically by the card. The card uses a unique identification number that links to information contained in a secure DHS database. This number does not contain PII.
When you get an EDL, you will also receive:

  • Information on how to use, carry, and protect your license.
  • A shielded sleeve that prevents anyone from reading your license.
Last Updated: 09/16/2022
Was this page helpful?
This page was not helpful because the content