In February of 2014, Minnesota began offering both an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) and an Enhanced Identification Card (EID). Although citizens are not required to obtain these new enhanced cards, they may be a beneficial and cost-effective option for those who plan to travel to certain international destinations and then re-enter the United States via land or sea (but not air). They will serve as identity verification and proof of citizenship in lieu of a passport at border crossings from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. The EDL is also a valid driver’s license.
EDLs and EIDs are available to Minnesotans age 16 and older and cost $15 more than the regular driver’s license or identification card. Each enhanced document contains a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip for tracking purposes that includes biographical information and a photo; the RFID does not contain any biometric data (such as fingerprints or facial recognition). Visually, the enhanced documents are glossy and stiffer than a standard license; they also display the word “enhanced” on the front, as well as an American flag.
The back of the EDL and EID features a magnetic stripe, a 1D barcode, and a 2D barcode. The magnetic stripe contains all the data displayed on the front of the card. The 1D barcode contains only the card or license number. The 2D barcode contains only the cardholder’s name, date of birth, and card number. This is a departure from the standard Minnesota driver’s license, in which the 2D barcode also encodes cardholder’s address. However, swiping the magnetic stripe on an EDL/EID will yield address information (see below).