Enhanced driver’s license eases border crossing

by Nicolas Hallett

Going to Mexico or Canada just got a whole lot easier for Minnesota residents. Starting Monday, Minnesotans can apply for an enhanced driver’s license that allows them to go between the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean without a passport, the Star Tribune reports. The Brainerd Dispatch said the new license format will cost about $10 in addition to the license renewal fee, which is less expensive compared to a $100 passport or $85 passport card. With Radio Frequency Identification technology, Border Patrol agents can scan the new ID cards before a person even reaches the country’s security checkpoint. The new license cannot serve as a passport while flying, however. Minnesota is the fifth state to implement the enhanced driver’s license, following the lead of New York, Vermont, Michigan and Washington. “This document allows you to drive a vehicle in the state that it’s issued or whatever agreements they have, and it can be used for entry into the United States at all land and sea ports of entry,” Brian King of U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Inforum. Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed legislation in May 2010 to create the new license encoded with data required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for international re-entry, according to the Duluth News Tribune.