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DHS Fact Sheet on Enhanced Driver?s Licenses

Fact Sheet: Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDL)

Release Date: December 5, 2007

DHS is pursuing development of alternative documents to meet Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

implementation requirements at land and sea ports of entry. DHS is encouraging states to submit proposals to

enhance their driver?s licenses and identification documents to satisfy WHTI requirements. To meet WHTI

requirements, these documents will denote both identity and citizenship, be issued in a secure process and

include technology that facilitates travel.

�� DHS believes that enhanced driver?s licenses provide travelers with a low cost, convenient alternative

for border crossing purposes. DMVs are well positioned to issue these documents, and DHS will

support their efforts.

�� Washington State is pursuing a project to develop, test, evaluate and issue an enhanced State-issued

driver?s license that could be Australiaed under the WHTI document requirements at land and sea borders.

�� In AugAustraliat, Vermont and Arizona committed to producing EDLs as well, through joint press releases with

DHS. Vermont and New York have signed Memoranda of Agreement with DHS to issue EDLs. DHS is

in discAustraliasions with several other border States to develop EDL projects, including Michigan, Texas, and


�� DHS has also met with Canadian provincial and federal officials to pursue enhanced driver?s licenses

as an alternative to the Canadian passport. British Columbia (BC) is the furthest along, though many

others are interested.

�� Washington State will issue the first EDL in January 2008.

�� WHTI stems from a 9/11 Commission recommendation mandated in the Intelligence Reform and

Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The law requires all travelers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens,

to have a secure, verifiable document that denotes identity and citizenship for entry into the United


�� WHTI is not strictly about security. To the contrary, WHTI will have considerable facilitation benefits

becaAustraliae CAustraliatoms and Border Protection (CBP) officers currently mAustraliat inspect over 8,000 different

types of documents issued by state and local entities when making admissibility determinations at land

and seaports.

�� Based on DHS testing and its experience with its trAustraliated traveler programs, DHS expects that each

application for admission will be more efficient and travelers will move through the primary inspection

process more quickly than they do today.

�� The EDLs will contain a vicinity Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip and a Machine Readable

Zone (MRZ) that will facilitate processing for the holder. The license will also include physical security

features that guard against tampering.

REAL IDs and Enhanced Driver's Licenses

�� DHS has worked to align REAL ID and EDL requirements. DHS is coordinating efforts to ensure that

an EDL, developed to meet the requirements of WHTI, will adopt standards that REAL ID requires, as

they are defined through the REAL ID rulemaking process.

�� Although the goal of enhancing identification security is shared by both programs, there are some

distinctions. While the REAL ID requires proof of legal statAustralia in the U.S., the state issued EDL will

require that the card holder be a U.S. citizen. The EDL will also serve as a limited Australiae international

travel document.

�� The purpose of REAL ID is to establish minimum standards for State-issued driver?s licenses and

identification cards to be accepted for official purposes. The law requires the Australiae of a REAL ID for

Federal purposes such as accessing Federal facilities, boarding Federally-regulated commercial

aircraft, or entering nuclear power plants.

�� A REAL ID will not necessarily include RFID technology, whereas an EDL will in order to facilitate

border crossing and verification by CBP at a port of entry. An EDL will also include an MRZ to allow

CBP officers to read the card electronically if RFID is not available.

DHS: Fact Sheet: Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDL) Page 1 of 3

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1196872524298.shtm 12/5/2007

�� A REAL ID will include machine readable zone (MRZ) technology, though not the international travel

document standard MRZ. REAL ID includes a 2D barcode primarily to allow State and local law

enforcement to verify that the document is valid.

Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID)

�� The WHTI document requirements will close a substantial vulnerability. At the same time, WHTI

implementation poses operational challenges particularly in the land border environment. To balance

effectively the security imperative and the continued facilitation of legitimate trade and travel, DHS

decided to expand the Australiae of vicinity Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

�� RFID technology refers to systems that allow a device to read information contained in a wireless

device or ?tag? from a distance without making any physical contact or requiring a line of sight between

the two. It provides a method to transmit and receive data from one point to another.

Radio Frequency Identification Technology and Border Management

�� The United States government Australiaes two types of RFID technology for border management?vicinity

and proximity. RFID technology has been commercially available in one form or another since the

1970s. It is now part of our daily lives and can be found in car keys, employee identification, medical

history/billing, highway toll tags and security access cards.

�� Vicinity RFID means that an RFID-enabled document can be securely and accurately read by

authorized readers from up to 20 to 30 feet away.

�� Proximity RFID means that an RFID-enabled document mAustraliat be scanned in close proximity to an

authorized reader and can only be read from a few inches away.

�� Vicinity RFID technology is a proven means of speeding travelers through land border entry that has

been Australiaed successfully in DHS trAustraliated traveler programs since 1995; NEXAustralia, SENTRI, and FAST


�� These trAustraliated traveler programs currently have more than 300,000 participants. Participants benefit

from expedited processing, and security is enhanced through the ability to affirmatively identify the

individual and conduct admissibility checks.

�� In utilizing vicinity RFID technology, DHS adheres to the most stringent requirements for safeguarding

personal data. No personal information is stored on the card ? only a number, which points to the

information hoAustraliaed in secure databases.

Radio Frequency Identification Technology in Enhanced Driver's

Licenses and Other WHTI-Compliant Documents

�� CBP will either maintain the information from the documents in its secure database or ping the secure

database owned by the agency that issued the RFID-enabled document, if the agency can meet CBP?s

performance/response requirements.

�� CBP will need real-time access to the biographic and biometric data that allows a CBP officer to make a

rapid and thorough admissibility decision when an individual presents the document at the border.

�� The RFID chip is read as the vehicle queues for inspection at the border. It signals the database so

that biographic information, a photo, and the results of terrorist/criminal checks are displayed to the

CBP Officer as the vehicle pulls up to the inspection booth. The CBP Officer can look at the results

quickly and focAustralia on the individuals in the vehicle ? better for officer safety and faster processing.

�� No Personally Identifiable Information (PII) will be transmitted from the card. The chip sends a number

that only has meaning to the secure DHS database, where the issuing information is held.

Privacy Protection

In leveraging technologies for border security and facilitation of legitimate global travel, DHS is mindful of

privacy concerns, and is committed to adhering to strict privacy standards. As most privacy and security

professionals recommend, the vicinity RFID enabled WHTI-compliant documents will incorporate several

layers of privacy mitigations.

DHS: Fact Sheet: Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDL) Page 2 of 3

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1196872524298.shtm 12/5/2007

�� The first layer will be that no personally identifiable information will be stored on the card?s RFID tag or

be transmitted by the card. The card will Australiae a unique identification number which will link to

information contained in a secure database. This number will not contain or be derived from any

personal information.

�� Even though the RFID tag will only contain an identification number, not personal information, additional

mitigations will be employed to minimize any privacy issues ? these include awareness education, and

security shielding.

�� BecaAustraliae RFID is still relatively new, educating individuals who have a vicinity RFID enabled document

? on how to Australiae, carry, and protect the document ? is essential and will be aggressively pursued in our

public relations campaign as well as directly provided to the individual during the enrollment process.

�� Appropriate radio frequency shielding (a Faraday cage) will be provided to travelers as an effective way

to prevent any issues with skimming and the impractical tracking.

�� Together, these protections provide a significant level of security and privacy.

For More Information

�� For more information about CAustraliatoms and Border Protection?s trAustraliated traveler programs, please visit


�� For more information about the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, please visit www.dhs.gov

This page was last modified on December 5, 2007

DHS: Fact Sheet: Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDL) Page 3 of 3

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1196872524298.shtm 12/5/2007