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Passport card vs. Enhanced DL

Discussion in 'Life After Citizenship' started by TheFree, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. TheFree

    TheFree Registered Users (C)

    I am thinking of applying for an Enhanced Driver License for the purpose of crossing the Canadian border instead of using the passport card.

    What do you think? Which one is better? What are the pros and cons of having one over the other?

    Your input is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
  2. Triple Citizen

    Triple Citizen Registered Users (C)

    Go with the passport card. If you move out of the 4 states that currently issue EDLs, you will need to get a passport card anyway then :)

  3. König

    König Registered Users (C)

    I double that. Also, if the current DL is exchanged for the EDL, the latter will still expire on the same date as the old one. Depending on the state, EDL is mostly valid for only 5 years whilst the passport card is valid for 10 years.

    The biggest drawback in getting EDL, however, is that one has to stand in line (in WA at least) for hours, and it is often impossible to be approved for the EDL on the same day because it involves a two-step process: an application and a thorough interview. On the other hand, the passport card just like passport book does not require any interview at all.
  4. new_LPR

    new_LPR Registered Users (C)

    But the biggest drawback of EDL which SUPERCEDES all the waiting is this -

    EDLs like passport cards contain RFID chips. People even walking outside your house can skim info on your card - granted- they cannot get all of your personal info, but they DO get number of your information locator.

    For this reason, many organizations are against RFID chips.

    Now.. you would use passport card VERY sparingly. You would keep it inside the jacket 99.9% of times and open it ONLY when you need to hand it over to an officer. So most of the time, this card cannot be skimmed.

    But EDL you will use it everywhere - from bars to restaurants to targets etc and in some cases they will even hold it , if for example you take a test drive.

    So you are more vulnerable by using EDL....

    Plus there is really no benefit of having EDL. Passport card costs only $20 for 10 yrs - why not get it!
  5. TheFree

    TheFree Registered Users (C)

    Thank you all for your wise perspective.

    I have been weighing all the pros and cons and so far the only pros that is swaying me into leaning toward the EDL is to show people in general and cops in particular when I get pulled over that I AM A US CITIZEN!! -- so they do not think of me as a foreigner because of the accent!

    Do you agree with me?
  6. heantune

    heantune Registered Users (C)

    I carry my passport card in wallet, like I used to carry green card. If I lived in a state with EDL I would probably compare the cost of each option over 10 years. That would be $passport card + 2 x $ordinary DL, compared to 2 x $ EDL. Is there a significant difference?

    Bob
  7. SEA400

    SEA400 Registered Users (C)

    Thanks new_LPR, that's a very good explaination.
  8. König

    König Registered Users (C)

    No. In 99% of circumstances, cops who pull you over don't care if you are a citizen or not. If you are stopped at an immigration checkpoint inside the country, you can always verbally declare your citizenship.

    If you don't want other people to think of you as a foreigner because of your accent, then tough luck, my friend. The bitter truth is that no matter what you show them - a passport card, an EDL or a certificat of naturalisation - you will still be a foreigner to them, and they will keep asking you where you are from ;)
  9. Risah

    Risah Registered Users (C)

    I like to use the passport card for normal ID purposes (buying alcohol etc.) because it doesn't show my address. Obviously that wouldn't work for a traffic stop. If my state offered EDLs, I would probably get one, just for me to look at and enjoy being a citizen, but that is just me. The passport card is actually helpful for future passport applications in case of a lost passport book, so I prefer to keep a current passport card as well.

    One thought on the RFID chip: Some people are concerned about the feasibility of being tracked via the chip. Frankly, if you are concerned about tracking, you better start by unpacking your cell phone.
  10. König

    König Registered Users (C)

    In Washington state, the difference would be $10 over 10-year period. Are you sure you would base your decision on $1/year difference? :D

    I personally decided to get a passport card and keep using usual DL. I keep the passport card at home because I usually plan my trips to Canada well ahead, and frankly I am not afraid to be accused of being an illegal immigrant driving down the road. In my native country, I was required to carry a passport at all times, so being able not to carry any immigration documents in USA gives me more enjoyment of being a US citizen :)
  11. TheFree

    TheFree Registered Users (C)

    I personally don't like carrying many cards in my wallet and I never liked that I had to carry the green card at all times. The ideal is to have only a DL and a debit card!

    I don't think the RFID is a concern because no identifiable personal info is stored in the EDL. Check this DHS link:

    http://www.dhs.gov/xtrvlsec/crossingborders/gc_1197575704846.shtm
  12. saf

    saf Active Member

    Go for Passport Card. It can be used as backup for certificate or passport booklet if your certificate or passport booklet is lost. Passport Card can be used to travel into Canada from any states bordering Canada on roads as well as it can be used to travel to Caribbean islands by seas or Mexico by roads. EDL is not accepted for Mexico or Caribbean islands.
  13. König

    König Registered Users (C)

    EDL is an WHTI-compliant document, so it can be used for land or sea travel to Mexico and the Caribbean islands. The bottom line is that the EDL is accepted by CBP at any land or sea POE.
  14. saf

    saf Active Member

    That's only for entering USA from Mexico, Caribbean Islands and Canada. Canada allows them to enter Canada using EDL, but some Caribbean Islands don't know EDL yet. My friend and his girlfriend from New York went to Barbados (which is a part of WHTI and Caribbean islands) for vacation using EDL instead of US passport. Barbados officals asked for US passport or US passport card only when my friend and his girlfriend show their EDL. They didn't recognize EDL.

    http://www.nysdmv.com/edl-faqs.htm (It said some countries in the Caribbean, not ALL countries). That's why U.S. passport card is recommended.

    http://www.travels.com/destinations/caribbean/which-caribbean-countries-require-passport/ or see below:
    Some islands are not covered by the WHTI. For instance, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are protected territories of the United States. American citizens can pass freely to and from the countries without passports. Visitors to Barbados, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin and Trinidad and Tobago must present passports if arriving by sea. Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are independent nations that chose not to participate in the WHTI. The nation of Haiti is considered one of the most politically unstable countries in the world, and as a result, the United States did not include it in the WHTI.

    The remaining countries are considered parts of the Republic of France and adhere to all French laws, including those governing travelers entering and exiting the country.
  15. new_LPR

    new_LPR Registered Users (C)



    Very good point ... it is human psychology - as mentioned in some of my previous posts , it has happened to me and others have also complained - for example go to the post where one guy was held up for a long time even after he claimed he recently got naturalized and they kept pestering him on how he got his citizenship - it is in this forum.

    Try this - when someone asks you where you are from, tell them you are an American - they will still ask you where you are ORIGINALLY from - and even if they know your full story, they will STILL consider you from your original country.

    A cop CANNOT take to you police station to verify your citizenship - or harass you if you are NOT a citizen. In fact if he considers you to be from another country, he will STILL ask you on how you became citizen.

    When I got my Green Card, I thought I would be treated with respect everywhere - but there have been cases that they will ask you many intrusive qsns if they like and you cannot do anything.

    I am guessing this will not stop even now that I am a citizen.


    I would say take a copy of your passport card and keep it in your wallet or hidden in your car. If someone pulls you and asks for proof, you can show them the copy.

    Also go to DMV and tell them you are a citizen, so they can put it in your records - a cop should have access to this I guess.


    I would again repeat my earlier concern that I think people should not skim my card or passport. Maybe its not easy to get info to personal info, but it is still possible.
    Yes, I consider it to be a big issue for me.
  16. König

    König Registered Users (C)

    Personally, I don't care if an average Joe the American considers me a foreigner or not. I am a dual citizen, and I did not run away from my native country, so I don't mind answering what country I came to US from.

    What bothers me, however, is when they politely ask if I am going to go home after I finish my study here. It is my home, damn it! :D

    As for answering "I am an American", well... it's up to you, I guess. I saw so many native-born Americans who said "I am Polish", "I am Irish" or "I am Italian" that I don't think you will betray your new country if you don't say "I am an American" ;)

    The bottom line for me is being treated like any other US citizen by our government (CBP, Dept of State, etc).
  17. TheFree

    TheFree Registered Users (C)

    An immigration checkpoint inside the country? Where did you see that? In Europe? I have lived in four states (CA, NY, NJ, WA) and I have never heard of it?
  18. König

    König Registered Users (C)

    We are talking about US, aren't we? There are immigration checkpoints in CA, AZ, NM, TX and even WA. Personally, I only encountered such checkpoint only once on I-15 heading out of San Diego. You can go on youtube and search for "Port Angeles checkpoint", "Checkpoint USA" or just "checkpoint" and you will get bunch of results. These checkpoints are set up within 160 km of the border, and CBP agents have the power to search your car. Ever heard of this? ;)
  19. TheFree

    TheFree Registered Users (C)

    I thought you were talking about random checkpoints anywhere in the country! of course there are checkpoint near the borders!
  20. König

    König Registered Users (C)

    They are random checkpoints. I probably should not have used word "inside" since 160 km is not "inside" enough ;)

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