One year later, EDLs a popular option --More than 170,000 applications received for border-ready cards

More than 170,000 applications have been received for Michigan's enhanced driver's license (EDL) since it became available in April 2009, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land announced today.

''Demand continues to be strong for the enhanced driver's license, and we recommend it for any residents who may be traveling by land or sea to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean,'' Land said. ''The EDL can be obtained without the cost and hassle of a passport and provides a greater level of convenience in border travel.''

Enhanced licenses are equipped with the technology to speed up border crossings and deter fraud. They cost $45 and enhanced state identification cards are $30. Applicants receive them in two to three weeks.

The EDL meets the requirements of the federal Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative for land or sea border re-entry to the United States and eliminates the need to carry multiple ID documents when returning to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. The card has been most popular among residents heading to Canada, such as sportsmen, day travelers and vacationers, Land said.

Enhanced licenses are available to Michigan residents who are U.S. citizens. To apply, residents may visit any Secretary of State branch office. The application process is relatively easy for those who already have a current Michigan driver's license. They only need to present proof of a valid Social Security number and U.S. citizenship in addition to their Michigan driver's license. EDLs are offered for voluntary purchase and are not required.

A U.S. passport is required for air travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Before visiting, travelers should check with the countries they intend to visit to see what documents are required to enter those countries.

For more information on how to obtain an enhanced driver's license, visit www. Michigan. gov/sos.

Published: Thu, Apr 29, 2010