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Enhanced Driver's Licence And Photo Card

Archived Backgrounder

Enhanced Driver's Licence And Photo Card

Backgrounder

Ministry of Transportation

Will my travel plans be affected by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative?

All Ontarians travelling to and from the U.S. are already affected by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/whti-ivho/menu-eng.html):

  • Since January 2007, travellers entering the U.S. by air have been required to present a passport or a NEXUS card (http://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/about-sujet-eng.html).
  • Since January 2008, travellers to U.S. by land and sea have been required to show proof of citizenship with their identification, such as a birth certificate. This means that Ontarians travelling to the U.S. now must be prepared to show proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, when crossing the border.
The final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will come into effect on June 1, 2009. After this date, Ontarians will be required to show either a passport or an accepted passport alternative, such as a NEXUS card, a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card, or, if legislation is passed, an enhanced driver's licence.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative does provide some exceptions for youth, for example:

  • Youth 15 years of age and under will only require proof of Canadian citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
  • Youth 18 years of age and under who are travelling with a school group or other organized group, under adult supervision with parental/guardian consent may also present proof of citizenship alone.

Who can apply for an enhanced driver's licence?

If the proposed legislation is passed, any Canadian citizen holding a valid Ontario driver's licence will have the option of adding citizenship information to their existing driver's licence for use as a passport alternative at land and sea Canada-U.S. border crossings.

The enhanced driver's licence would provide drivers with a more secure, affordable alternative to obtaining a regular Canadian passport.

Travellers who already have a passport may prefer to carry the enhanced driver's licence when entering the U.S. by land or sea because, like a driver's licence, the new card is wallet-sized and more convenient to carry.

The new enhanced driver's licence is expected to be available by winter 2008/2009.


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