Enhanced driver’s licenses are offered to residents of 5 states (MI, MN, NY, VT, and WA) to serve as proof of identity and U.S Citizenship (Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 2023). This document is used both as a driver’s license and as a replacement for a U.S. passport at a U.S. border. Enhanced driver’s licenses are marked by the word “Enhanced” or can show a yellow star icon in the top right corner (Figure 1).
Enhanced driver’s licenses contain additional technology to improve the experience of crossing the border, including a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip, Machine Readable Zone, or barcode that provides a unique reference number to the RFID system, allowing the border agent to access the holder’s personal identifying information (DHS 2023).
In order to hold an enhanced driver’s license, the applicant must present a document from each category:
Figure 1. Examples of enhanced drivers licenses in two participating states. These licenses are marked by the word “Enhanced” and/or have a yellow star icon indicating that they meet requirements for Federal Identification.
*NOTE: This memo was written in response to a specific legislator request and is meant to supplement the research contained in the following full Science Note: Citizenship Markings on Driver’s Licenses.