2010-02-19 / Community

Enhanced Driver License Hits One Million

Commissioner David J. Swarts of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has announced that more than one million people have accessed the Department’s Web site to obtain information on how to apply for an Enhanced Driver License (EDL).

“We are pleased that so many New Yorkers are aware of this popular new license and are seeking more information from our website about EDLs,” said Commissioner Swarts. “The EDL page on our web- site is a great tool to educate New Yorkers about how much our newest document has to offer when they travel.”

The EDL web page at www.nys-dmv.com features a detailed list of frequently asked questions, the application form and required proofs of identity and residency needed to apply.

In the first ten weeks after the EDL was introduced on September 16, 2008, New York issued more than 10,000 new documents. Since then, more than 260,000 have been sold and in July of this year approximately 52,000 travelers used a New York EDL to cross an international border.

The EDL was introduced as a secure document that meets driving, identity and border crossing needs by land and sea into the United States from Canada, Mexico and some nations in the Caribbean. Conveniently designed to fit in a wallet, the EDL is more economical than a passport and costs just $30 more than a regular driver license. The document is available to any New York resident who is a United States citizen.

New York’s EDLs, which can also be used for domestic air travel, was introduced just prior to federal travel requirements that changed on June 1, 2009. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) limits the number of documents U.S. citizens can present when returning to the United States from Canada, Mexico and some nations in the Caribbean.

The EDL also supports the upstate economy by expediting land and sea border crossings. Currently, more than 468,000 New York State jobs are supported by U.S.-Canada trade. In 2007, the U.S.-Canada merchandise trade was valued at more than $500 billion.

Customers can apply for an EDL in person at any DMV office. All license classes, including commercial and motorcycle, can be converted to an EDL, which is valid for eight years. New Yorkers who do not drive, but wish to carry an “enhanced” document for easy traveling, can also apply for an enhanced nondriver ID. Applications take less than two weeks to process.

More information on New York State’s Enhanced Driver License program can be found by visiting the DMV’s website at www.nysdmv.com.

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