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NY enhanced driver license as good as passport – QNS.com

NY enhanced driver license as good as passport

Governor David Paterson announced an agreement between New York State and the Federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier this week that will create the Enhanced Driver License (EDL) for New York residents.
The new licenses will aid in boosting the upstate economy “by expediting cross-border land and sea travel for the citizens of the state” and individuals will be able to use it in place of their passport, which will soon be required for all border crossings next summer.
New York residents have the option to volunteer in the EDL project since it is open to New Yorkers with U.S. citizenship. The EDL will be accepted at U.S. land and see border crossings.
Governor Paterson said, “The development of this license will help to ease long lines at our New York-Canada border crossings, allowing commerce to flow more freely and securely in and out of the state.”
“It represents a major step forward that will help the upstate economy and offer a convenience for all New Yorkers who travel in North America,” he added.
In order to receive an EDL, residents must visit a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office and show proof of citizenship and identity. Paterson said that the new document will have additional features to indicate it is an EDL. The license will be available by the end of this summer, which will make New York the second state in the nation to offer the new document.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said, “New Yorkers appreciate as much as anyone the value of secure identification. Enhanced Driver Licenses are a win for U.S. citizens in New York State and a win for the security of the rest of the country.”
Paterson explained that the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) EDL will cost $30 more than the current driver’s license but less than a U.S. passport. Currently, the WHTI is used to increase security on the borders.
“Under that federal provision,” Paterson said, “citizens of New York would have to provide a passport in order to enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda starting on June 1, 2009, unless they have a federally authorized alternative such as the EDL.”
Senator Charles Schumer said, “We must move full speed ahead because with the Enhanced Driver License we can have our cake and eat it too: it strengthens our security but places no burden on cross-border commerce or on Americans and Canadians traveling between the two countries.”
Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Michael Balboni added, “Securing our nation’s borders is one of our most important responsibilities. The new Enhanced Driver License will allow New Yorkers to quickly pass through U.S. borders while ensuring the validity of their identities and protecting our homeland security.”

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