FAQ
Enhanced Driver's License and State ID Card
What is the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and how does it affect me?

Beginning June 1, 2009, travelers must present an identity and citizenship document approved under WHTI to gain re-entry into the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. (Before you travel, please check to make sure that you have met the specific identity and citizenship document requirements for any country you may be visiting.)

U.S. citizens age 16 and older must present one of the following:

a. Passport

b. Passport card

c. Enhanced driver's license or state ID card

d. Trusted Traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST)

U.S. citizens younger than 16 should present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate (original or a photocopy), a naturalization certificate or a citizenship card.

Young people ages 16-18 who are traveling in a group with adult supervision as part of a school, church, social organization or sports team need only present their birth certificate (original or a photocopy) or other proof of citizenship.

For more information on WHTI and other federal travel requirements, visit www.dhs.gov or Homeland Security - Cross U.S. Borders.

 

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What is an enhanced driver's license or state ID card?

They are dual-purpose documents designed for the user's convenience. In addition to serving as a typical driver's license or ID card, they may be used to re-enter the U.S. at its land or sea ports when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. This flexibility speeds your passage back across the border. They verify your identity and citizenship - no other proof is needed. Enhanced driver's licenses and ID cards are among the federally approved border-crossing documents when entering the U.S. required under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

This site has more information about enhanced licenses and ID cards.

 

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How do I apply for an enhanced license or state ID card?

To obtain an enhanced license or ID, you must be a U.S. citizen. If you are applying for an enhanced license, you must also have no violations, suspensions, revocations or denials on your driving record that would prevent you from legally operating a motor vehicle. To apply:

a. Visit any Secretary of State office. Make sure you bring documentation of:

1) A valid Social Security number (for example, a Social Security card)

2) U.S. citizenship (for example, a certified copy of your birth certificate with a raised seal, must be issued by a governmental unit in the U.S. or U.S. territory)

3) Identity (for example, a current Michigan photo license or ID card)

4) Residency (for example, a current Michigan photo license or ID card)

* Please refer to the SOS-428 (ENH) form for a complete list of acceptable documentation.

b. Have a new photograph taken.

c. Pay the enhanced license or state ID card fee.

 

 

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Do I need to pass any written knowledge or driving skills tests to get an enhanced driver's license?

Not if you already have a valid Michigan driver's license or a valid license from another state. Testing is only required if:

a. You have never been licensed before

b. You have a medical or physical condition that indicates further evaluation is warranted

c. You are applying for a chauffeur or commercial driver license (CDL) or to add CDL group designators

d. You have an expired license from another state

e. Your Michigan license has been expired more than four years

 

 

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How long will it take to get my enhanced driver's license or state ID card?

About two to three weeks after submitting your application.

 

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How does the design of an enhanced card differ from the REAL ID or standard card design?

All driver’s licenses and state ID cards issued by the Secretary of State employ security features that are industry best practices to repent the card from being fraudulently copied or used.

Specific features of the enhanced license or ID include:

a. A radio frequency identification (RFID) chip to speed border crossings. The RFID chip does not contain any personally identifying information.
b. A machine readable zone on the back of the card to serve as a backup if the RFID equipment is unavailable.
c. A security sleeve to protect the RFID chip from being read when the card is not being used.
d. An image of the U.S. flag on the front indicating U.S. citizenship.
e. The word “Enhanced” on the front.

 

 

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Who has access to the personal information I provide when I apply for an enhanced driver's license or state ID card?

Only select Michigan Secretary of State employees who have passed a background check, law enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials who can access the information during a border crossing.

 

 

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Which Secretary of State offices issue the enhanced license or state ID card?

All Secretary of State offices issue the enhanced driver's license and state ID card. Branch offices will also process license and state ID card renewals, address, name or date of birth changes and duplicates - if your card is lost, damaged or stolen.

The Secretary of State Mobile Branch Office also issues enhanced licenses and state ID cards.

To find the branch office nearest you, please visit our Branch Office Locator.

 

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What are the fees associated with an enhanced driver's license or state ID card?

First License or ID Card
Enhanced Driver's License - $45
Enhanced Chauffeur License - $50
Enhanced State ID Card - $30
Enhanced State ID Card (Blind or 65+) - $20

Renewing
Enhanced Driver's License - $38 (Late renewal - $45)
Enhanced Chauffeur License - $43 (Late renewal - $50)
Enhanced State ID Card - $30
Enhanced State ID (Blind or 65+) - $20

Correcting or Replacing
Enhanced Driver's License - $24
Enhanced Driver's License - Adding CDL - $33
Enhanced Chauffeur License - $33
Enhanced State ID Card - $30
Enhanced State ID (Blind or 65+) - $20


For more information about fees, refer to the enhanced driver's license or enhanced state ID card fee charts.




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I just renewed my license before the enhanced license was available. Can I get credit for my renewal towards an enhanced license?

The enhanced driver's license and state ID card are optional customer conveniences. The enhanced driver's license and ID card law allows for issuing original and renewal licenses only and does not contain a provision for credit to upgrade a current license or ID. Refunds for driver's licenses are restricted to licenses issued in error.

 

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If I apply for an enhanced license or ID card, when will it expire?

Enhanced driver's license:

a. Already have a Michigan driver's license: If you apply for your enhanced license up to six months before your current license expires, your enhanced license will expire four years from your next birthday.

If you apply at any other time, your enhanced license will expire four years from your last birthday. As a result, some EDL's will expire in less than four years. If your current Michigan driver's license expiration date is more than six months away, you may want to consider waiting until after your next birthday to apply for your EDL (unless you have an immediate need for one). This will ensure you obtain the longest possible license term from your first EDL.

b. Do not have a Michigan driver's license: Your enhanced license will expire four years from your last birthday.

c. Under age 21: The enhanced license expires on your 21st birthday. The only exception is for those applying within six months of their 21st birthday. In this case, the enhanced license will expire four years from their 21st birthday.

Enhanced state ID card:

a. Your enhanced state ID card will expire four years from your last birthday. The only exception is for those who apply up to 45 days before their current Michigan ID card expires. In this case, the enhanced card will expire four years from their next birthday.

 

 

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Am I required to get an enhanced driver's license or state ID card?

No. They are provided as convenient options to speed up your border crossing when returning to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean by land or sea. The enhanced cards meet the travel document requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

 

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Do I need an enhanced driver's license or state ID card if I am younger than 18?

Beginning June 1, 2009, travelers must present an identity and citizenship document approved under WHTI to gain re-entry into the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. WHTI was enacted to heighten border security against terrorism and illegal entry.

U.S. citizens age 16 or older must present one of the WHTI-approved documents, such as an enhanced license or ID card, passport, passport card or Trusted Traveler card.

U.S. citizens under the age of 16 must present their birth certificate (original or a photocopy) or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.

U.S. citizens ages 16-18 traveling under adult supervision with a school or religious group, social organization or sports team need only present their birth certificate (original or a photocopy) or other proof of citizenship.

 

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I regularly transport groups of young people across the border for special events. What should I do to ensure that all of my group can cross?
  • U.S. citizens ages 16-18 traveling under adult supervision with a school or religious group, social organization or sports team need only present their birth certificate (original or a photocopy) to verify citizenship.
  • All children under the age of 16 need only present their birth certificate (original or a photocopy) or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.
  • Group members who are lawful permanent legal residents of the U.S. must provide an Alien Registration Card (Form I-551) issued by the Department of Homeland Security or other valid evidence of permanent residence, refugee or asylee status.

View the complete list of acceptable documents at CBP.gov for land travel and sea travel.

 

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Do I need an enhanced driver's license or state ID card when traveling to U.S. territories?

U.S. territories are considered a part of the United States. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory are not considered to have left the country and are only subject to the rules for domestic travel. You should review the TSA domestic travel requirements before traveling.

U.S. territories include: Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

For more information on federal travel requirements, visit www.dhs.gov or www.travel.state.gov.

 

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Is an enhanced driver's license or state ID acceptable for domestic air travel?

Yes, your enhanced driver’s license is acceptable for domestic air travel. Under the federal REAL ID law, Michigan residents must show a REAL ID-compliant document when flying in the United States beginning Oct. 1, 2020. Your enhanced driver’s license or ID card meets the federal REAL ID standards and may be used when flying domestically.

Michigan also issues another type of driver’s license and state ID that is REAL ID compliant. These licenses and IDs are identified by a gold circle with a star printed in the upper right-hand corner. While these REAL ID licenses and ID cards are accepted for flying domestically, they cannot be used to enter the United States by land or sea when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. For that, you’ll need an enhanced license or ID card.

After Oct. 1, 2020, if you do not have an enhanced license or state ID, or a REAL ID license or ID (with the gold circle and star), you will have to present another form of accepted document when flying in the United States, such as a valid U.S. passport or passport card. The Transportation Security Administration website at www.tsa.gov has a complete list of all accepted REAL ID documents.

 

 

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Do I need an enhanced driver's license or state ID card if I am going on a cruise?

Whether you can use an enhanced driver's license or state ID card depends on which ports you will be visiting. Foreign ports may require a passport for entry. Please note that due to emergencies, such as weather conditions, cruise ships may make unscheduled stops at foreign ports that require documents other than an enhanced license or state ID card to go ashore. Contact the cruise line or your travel agent for specific information.

 

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Do I need an enhanced driver's license or state ID card if I am traveling to and from Canada in my own boat or by ferry?

Yes. All land and sea travel between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean falls under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requirements, regardless of the type of vessel. Depending on the details of your travel to and from Canada in your own boat or by ferry, you may be required to present an enhanced license or state ID card (or other form of acceptable proof of identity and citizenship) to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

Visit the CBP at http://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/western-hemisphere-travel-initiative for more information on the WHTI travel requirements.

Related Documents & Topics

 



 

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Will I be able to use an enhanced driver's license or state ID card outside of Michigan?

Yes. An enhanced license or state ID card issued in Michigan is accepted at any U.S. land or sea port when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. An enhanced license is accepted as a valid license for driving in any U.S. state.

 

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How do I get a replacement if my enhanced driver's license or state ID card is lost or stolen?

Replacing a lost or stolen enhanced driver's license or state ID card -- in state

If your enhanced license or state ID card is lost or stolen, you may visit any Secretary of State office to apply for a replacement. You will need to present acceptable identification to substantiate your identity.

An enhanced license or state ID card reported lost or stolen is immediately canceled and cannot be used to cross the border.

Replacing a lost or stolen enhanced license or state ID card - out of state

If you are traveling in the U.S. and lose your enhanced license or state ID card, contact the Department of State Special Services Branch at 517-322-1473 to request a replacement. You will need to fill out an application with your first, middle and last name, date of birth, driver's license number and out-of-state address. Return the application to:

Michigan Department of State
The Special Services Branch
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, MI 48918

Replacing a lost or stolen enhanced license or state ID card - outside the U.S.

If you are traveling outside of the U.S. and your enhanced license or state ID card is lost or stolen, you should immediately contact the U.S. Embassy in the country you are visiting or the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol when you arrive at your U.S. port.

If you are spending several weeks or months overseas and your enhanced license is lost or stolen, contact the Department of State Special Services Branch. It will take two to three weeks to produce a replacement license. The time required for overseas mail to deliver it will vary depending on your location.

 

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Do I need an enhanced driver's license or state ID card if I am a Native American?

Visit the Homeland Security - Cross U.S. Borders for specific populations and specific situations. If you are otherwise eligible for a Michigan driver's license or state ID card, you may apply for the enhanced card for convenience when traveling by land and sea between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

 

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Can I get an enhanced driver's license or state ID card if I have a green card or work visa?

No. Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for an enhanced driver's license or state ID card.

 

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Can I get an enhanced driver's license if I am in the military and stationed outside of Michigan?

You must apply for an enhanced driver's license in person at any Secretary of State office. The Department of Homeland Security allows military personnel to travel across land and sea borders using an expired driver's license with a valid military identification card and traveling orders. When you return to Michigan, visit a branch office to apply for your driver's license.

 

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Can I apply for an enhanced driver's license or state ID card online or by mail?

No. You must apply in person at a Secretary of State office. Office staff will determine your eligibility by reviewing your documents and conducting an interview to confirm identity and citizenship.

 

 

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How is my enhanced driver's license or state ID card used when I cross the border?

Your enhanced license or state ID card has a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that contains a unique reference number. The unique reference number allows the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials to quickly and accurately verify your identity and citizenship.

When you enter the U.S. at a land or sea port that has an RFID reader, your RFID number will be referenced against a secure database to verify your identity for border-crossing purposes. There is no personally identifying information stored on the RFID chip. The Customs and Border Protection official may also physically inspect your enhanced license or ID, ask for additional information, or perform additional inspections.

Not every port of entry will have an RFID reader. If your port of entry does not use an RFID reader, the Customs and Border Protection official may inspect your enhanced license or ID or use other means to confirm your identity and citizenship.

 

 

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Can I turn off the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip?

No. Tampering with or deactivating the RFID chip embedded in your enhanced driver's license or state ID card will invalidate it, so it cannot be used for border crossings. The RFID chip does not contain a power source, so it cannot be turned on and off. The chip contains only a unique reference number. It does not contain any personally identifying information.

A protective sleeve is provided with your license or ID card that prevents the chip from being read by an unsolicited RFID reader. When your license or ID is not in use, it is recommended that you keep it in its sleeve.

 

 

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Will the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip allow someone to track my location?

The chip only contains a unique reference number and does not contain any personally identifying information. Most RFID readers only have a range of about 15 to 30 feet under ideal conditions. When your enhanced driver's license or state ID card is in the protective sleeve, it cannot be read.

 

 

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Is the RFID technology safe?

Yes, RFID technology has been used for years in commerce to manage inventory in warehouses and for other everyday applications such as Trusted Traveler cards, toll tags, metro cards building passes. The electromagnetic waves generated by the RFID reader are similar to the waves from a car radio and are harmless. For your convenience, a protective sleeve is mailed with your enhanced license or state ID card.

 

 

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What types of driver's licenses does Michigan issue?

License types

Michigan issues two types of driver's licenses: operator and chauffeur.  

(1) An operator's license is what most residents mean when they use the term "driver's license." An operator's license allows you to drive passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating capacity of less than 26,000 pounds.

(2) A chauffeur license is required if you have been hired to:

  • Transport passengers or property, merchandise or goods for display, sale or delivery; or
  • Operate a motor vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more; or
  • Operate a bus or school bus; or 
  • Operate a taxi or limousine

You will need a chauffeur license with the appropriate commercial driver license (CDL) endorsement to drive larger commercial trucks, such as semi-tractors or buses, or to transport hazardous materials. Certain jobs and professions don't require a chauffeur license, such as farmers, firefighters or emergency medical services personnel. For a complete definition of a chauffeur license, visit the Michigan Vehicle Code at http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-257-6.

(3) To operate a motorcycle, you must have a motorcycle endorsement on either an operator or a chauffeur license. The motorcycle endorsement, CY, is added after you have successfully completed a motorcycle safety course or passed the skills and written knowledge tests.

License styles

Michigan's operator and chauffeur licenses are available in two styles -- standard and enhanced. The enhanced operator and chauffeur licenses are attractive options for travelers and commercial drivers. Enhanced licenses are federally accepted documents that allow you to enter the U.S. at a land or sea border crossing when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. If you have a standard operator or chauffeur license, you'll also need to present a passport or other federally accepted identity document to cross at the border.

Both standard and enhanced licenses are accepted as identification for domestic air travel. A passport or other federally accepted identity document will be required when flying internationally.

For more information about license types, requirements, endorsements and fees, click on "Driver's License/State ID" on the Department of State home page.  

 

 

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