Enhanced Licenses, ID Cards Allow Minn. Residents to Cross Borders

Updated: 02/11/2014 4:59 PM KSTP.com By: Megan Stewart

An old driver's license compared to the new, enhanced version.
An old driver's license compared to the new, enhanced version.
Photo: Photo: Minnesota DMV

Minnesotans can now apply for a new high-tech driver's license or identification card.

The enhanced driver's license (EDL) and enhanced identification card (EID) can be used to get into the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean, according to the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles.

The two versions look pretty similar, but the enhanced version has a special chip embedded in the cards that allows officials to verify the cardholder's identity without additional proof.

Border Patrol Agents at land and sea entry ports are able to use the new cards to verify the cardholder's identity and citizenship through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

The radio frequency does not store personal information, according to the DMV. Instead, the information of the cardholder is housed in a secure DHS database and the radio points to the information.

EDL or EID applicants must be a U.S. citizen, Minnesota resident and at least 16 years old. They also must have a driving record that does not prevent them from legally operating a motor vehicle, unless applying for an EID. Proper documentation, including a Social Security number and proof of residency, must also be provided.