HomeLocal NewsWhat Does A Michigan Enhanced License Look Like? 

What Does A Michigan Enhanced License Look Like? 

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If you have seen other states’ enhanced licenses, you might be tempted to ask, “What does a Michigan enhanced license look like?” 

Enhanced ID offers users all the privileges Real ID offers, but it takes things further. In other words, it offers all that the Real ID offers and more. 

Here, we’ll discuss how you can identify EDLs, benefits, application requirements, and other valuable information. So, keep reading to get more details on this topic. 

What Is A Michigan Enhanced License?

Before we discuss how to identify an EDL, let’s understand the meaning of the license. What is an EDL (Enhanced Driver’s License)?

An EDL is a state-issued license available in only a few states. Check out the states below:

  • Michigan
  • Washington
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Minnesota 

EDLs are issued to U.S. citizens and are valuable when traveling outside the country via land or sea port. You can travel without a passport with this ID to countries like Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean with an EDL (without a passport) via land. However, note that this ID is issued to users securely and includes technology that makes traveling a breeze. 

You need the Enhanced ID as proof that you’re a U.S. Citizen when crossing the border to or from other countries (Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean) via a vehicle. The EDL also offers people from the countries mentioned a low-cost option to cross into the United States of America via land or sea port. 

Only five states issue EDLs. And the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has worked tirelessly with these states to improve the driver’s license. The aim is to comply with the travel rules agreed upon in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). 

What Does A Michigan Enhanced License Look Like?

The Michigan Enhanced License looks almost like the Real (Standard) ID, with minor differences. It carries a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip, which makes identifying the cardholder a breeze.  

On the front of the EDL, you’ll find the United States of America’s flag on the right-hand side of the cardholder’s photo. In addition, the “Enhanced Driver License” is written at the top left-hand corner of the card. 

How Does The Michigan License Differ From the Real License?

Firstly, understand that the Enhanced ID and Real ID look almost the same. There aren’t major differences between both IDs. 

The first minor difference you’ll notice is the chip. The EDL involves sophisticated technology that makes traveling between countries in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) a breeze. 

The chip on the EDL is RFID (radio frequency identification). Unfortunately, the Real ID doesn’t have a chip.

Here is another minor difference between the Real and Enhanced ID. You’ll find a white star in a gold circle in the real ID. The Michigan Enhanced ID doesn’t have such. Instead, the EDL has the American flag on the right side of the cardholder’s photo. 

The “Enhanced Driver License” on top of the holder’s photo is boldly written and differentiates the Enhanced ID from the Real ID. Besides these few alterations, you won’t notice much differences between the Real and Enhanced ID. 

A Handy Tip: The Enhanced ID isn’t free. Furthermore, application requirements to obtain Real IDs are similar to Enhanced IDs. And you must be ready to prove your Michigan residency and provide your social security number.    

Why Should You Get A Michigan Enhanced License?

Do you need a reason to get the Enhanced ID instead of the Real ID? You’re in the right place!

Some people may prefer the Real or standard ID-compliant license. People in this category don’t like traveling out of the country via land.  

Now, here’s the thing. If you plan to travel to countries like Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean, an Enhanced license is a wise choice. In addition, you can even use the EDL instead of a Real ID within the state. The EDL also offers more. 

You can use the Enhanced license or EDL within and outside Michigan. In other words, it can serve the same purpose that your passport serves when traveling outside the United States of America via land.

The EDL boasts an RFID chip, which the standard or Real ID-compliant license doesn’t have. The RFID technology makes crossing the border from the United States to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean a breeze. It also ensures tighter security for participating countries. 

The chip is the game-changer in the EDL. With better security and faster border crossings, people won’t be hesitant when embarking on journeys for vacation, business or quick visits.   

The EDL’s chip makes it a breeze for U.S. citizens to enter the United States from other countries via land or seaport. 

Here is why the technology behind the EDL is a game-changer.  

  • The RFID (radio frequency identification chip signals a secure system to access and display your biographic, including biometric data for officers as you approach the country’s border inspection booth. So, the officers know everything they need to know about you before you stop at the inspection booth. That’s why the EDL makes border crossings so fast. 
  • The officers can use an MRZ (Machine Readable Zone) or a barcode if RFID is unavailable. So, there’s no delay with the EDL. It offers diverse options to confirm your identity.     

Is The Michigan Enhanced Driver License Safe?

It is normal for people to talk about privacy or safety issues when using new technology. The fact that the Enhanced Driver’s License can display one’s biography and other information when approaching a border inspection booth will concern anyone. 

The good thing is the EDL is safe. Your information won’t get into the hands of hackers. Excitingly, the RFID chip doesn’t store personally identifiable information (PII). And the card won’t transmit it electronically. 

Here is why the card is so secure. It utilizes a special identification number, which links to information contained in a secure DHS database. And what’s unique about this process is that the number doesn’t contain PII.  

When you receive your Michigan Enhanced License, you’ll also get information on how to use, protect and carry it. 

A shielded sleeve is another important thing you’ll receive alongside your license. The job of the shielded sleeve is to prevent people from reading your license. 

How To Get A Michigan Enhanced License

You must present one of the following legal presence documents to obtain an EDL. 

  • Valid U.S. passport card or passport.
  • Certificate of citizenship (N-560 or N-561).
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad from the U.S. State Department. These include the FS-240, DS-1350 and FS-545. 
  • Certificate of Naturalization such as the N-550, N-560 and N-578. 
  • The certified birth certificate boasts a stamped or raised seal. The U.S. government unit or the United States territory government office must issue the certificate. 

In addition to providing the necessary documents, applicants must answer several questions regarding their legal presence document. 

Furthermore, SAVE (Federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement) must verify your submitted document.   

The verification process is quick and easy. Just ensure you have the required documents for the Michigan Enhanced license ready. 

How Much Does The Michigan Enhanced License Cost?

An Enhanced license isn’t as expensive as many think. Besides, it boasts superior technology that makes border travel a breeze. 

You’ll be asked to pay $45 for your first enhanced license, but prepare your mind for the renewal every four years. The cost of renewing the EDL is $38 

The price difference between an EDL and a standard license isn’t much. A standard license costs $25 and $18 for renewal. 

Can A Non-Citizen Get The Michigan Enhanced License?

The Michigan Enhanced license is for U.S. citizens and Michigan residents. In other words, only Citizens of the United States of America are eligible for the Enhanced driver’s license. 

In the United States, non-citizens are eligible for standard IDs. However, non-citizens with proof of lawful presence in the country can get Real IDs.


What does a Michigan Enhanced License look like? The license has an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip at the back and the United States flag on the right side of the holder’s photo. 

These are the only two major things that differentiate an EDL from the Real ID. On the Real ID, you’ll find a star at the top right-hand corner of the card. However, the Real ID doesn’t include an RFID. 

Furthermore, you cannot use the Real ID to travel across borders via land or sea port to or from America to countries like Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. But you can with the EDL. 

This Enhanced License offers you what the Real ID offers and more. Thus, you can use it within and outside the state, especially to travel to and from countries in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). 

Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper is a dedicated news blogger with a zeal for storytelling. Enthusiastically covering current events, he constantly seeks fresh angles and innovative ways to refine his craft and engage his readers.


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