Until recently U.S. citizens needed only a valid driver’s license when arriving by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. As part of an effort to improve border security after 9/11, the United States passed the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which put an end to this practice. Effective June 1, 2009, you need a U.S. epassport, Passport Card or Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) to enter from these places at U.S. border crossings and seaports.
The U.S. epassport, the blue passport booklet, is good for any type of International travel.
The Passport Card and Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) are new travel documents that are only valid at U.S. land crossings and seaports. They are not valid for air travel. However, if you are traveling by air from any of these locations you will need an epassport.
The U.S. Passport Card and EDL are lower cost alternatives to the epassport. In addition, since they’re cards, it’s made easier to carry for people regularly crossing these borders. The EDL looks like a driver’s license except for the word “enhanced” at top and it has a small picture of an American flag on the front.
See also, What is the difference in technology between a passport card, enhanced driver’s license and e-passport?
Want to learn even more about how the epassport protects your privacy and safety? Read JustAskGemalto.com’s Tutorial on the U.S. Electronic Passport.