Motorists have the option to apply for an enhanced driver’s license (EDL) in Michigan, regardless of whether they have been previously licensed or not. The reason why many motorists opt for a DMV enhanced license is because this type of credential offers various benefits. In general, this type of license is like a cross between a passport and a standard driver’s license because of the benefits it provides.

Motorists wondering, “What do you need to get an enhanced driver’s license in MI?” are recommended to learn the application requirements and procedure that must be performed through the Michigan Secretary of State (MI SOS). Moreover, they need to know the difference between an enhanced credential and a passport, in order to know which one they need for their specific situation. To discover more information about how to apply for this document, review the sections below.

What is an enhanced driver’s license in Michigan?

An enhanced driver’s license (EDL) in Michigan is a special type of driving credential that enables motorists to re-enter the U.S. border by land or sea when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or other Caribbean countries. Note that motorists who have a standard license or a commercial driver’s license (CDL) need to have a passport or other federal identity document in order to cross the U.S. border. With the enhanced document, drivers may travel by land or sea without a passport or other identification.

What is an enhanced ID in Michigan?

The Michigan enhanced ID card is quite similar to the enhanced license, in terms of benefits and privileges that residents get from obtaining one. Both the driver’s license and the ID card may be issued as enhanced credentials so that motorists may use them as standard documents while also using them to re-enter the U.S. by land or sea from specific countries. Therefore, the enhanced ID card may be used as proof of identity and citizenship, as well as for travelling from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or from the Caribbean to the United States.

Both the MI enhanced license and ID card are federally approved documents approved by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).

Michigan Enhanced License Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a Michigan enhanced driver’s license or ID card, motorists need to first satisfy certain eligibility requirements. The EDL eligibility criteria require motorists to be able to prove their U.S. citizenship and Minnesota residency. Furthermore, applicants for such credentials are also mandated to prove that they are free of traffic violations, suspensions, revocations or denials on their MI driving records. Motorists who are applying for an enhanced license or ID must not have any obstacle to legally operate a motor vehicle.

Documents Needed for an Enhanced Driver’s License in Michigan

When applying for an enhanced driver’s license or ID card in Michigan, applicants must present a list of documents to an MI SOS branch. In order to begin the EDL application procedure, drivers need:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Proof of Minnesota residency

Note that motorists may have to provide two proofs of MI residency in a situation when they are applying for the first time and when they have not held a MI photo license or ID previously.

How to Get an Enhanced License in Michigan

To get a Michigan enhanced license or ID card, drivers are required to first satisfy certain eligibility criteria and then go in person at the MI SOS in order to perform the corresponding application procedure. Motorists who are wondering how to get an enhanced license in Michigan must:

  • Visit a local MI SOS branch.
  • Provide the mandatory documentation.
  • Have a new photograph taken.
  • Provide payment for the applicable fees.

An SOS representative will determine the applicant’s eligibility and will conduct an interview in order to confirm the individual’s identity and the U.S. citizenship. That is the reason why motorists who want to apply for an EDL must appear in person at a nearby MI SOS location.

How long does it take to get an enhanced license in Michigan?

After completing an application for a Michigan enhanced driver’s license or ID card, motorists need to wait for the new credential. The SOS needs two to three weeks to process the application and issue the enhanced document. Therefore, drivers should to wait for three weeks the most after submitting the application before inquiring about the document.

Enhanced Driver’s License Cost in Michigan

The final step of the EDL application process requires applicants to submit payment for the corresponding fees to the MI SOS branch. The enhanced driver’s license cost is predetermined by the MI SOS. The imposed fee for each enhanced document is different. Therefore motorists need to know exactly the type of enhanced credential they intend to apply for so that they do not make a mistake by paying the wrong fee.

The fee for a first-time EDL is $45, while a renewal costs $38 and a duplicate costs $24. An enhanced chauffeur’s license is $50 upon first issuance.

Enhanced Licenses vs. Passports in Michigan

Motorists who plan to apply for an enhanced driver’s license in Michigan need to know the benefits of holding such a credential. Moreover, many motorists may not understand the differences between an EDL and a passport nor the situations when they need to use each. A passport is a mandatory document when travelling internationally by land, sea or air. Therefore, holders of standard operator and chauffeur driver’s licenses who want to travel abroad must also hold a valid U.S. passport in order to cross the border.

However, an enhanced license may be used as both a proof of identity and as a document to re-enter the U.S. border from specific countries. An EDL is a federally accepted document that motorists use to re-enter the U.S. border from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or from the Caribbean countries. Thus, holders of EDL licenses who are travelling by land or sea to and from these countries do not necessarily need to possess a U.S. passport.

Last updated on Tuesday, April 30 2019.

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