The Manitoba government continues to provide “enhanced” documents that serve as alternatives to a Canadian Passport for crossing the border into the United States by land and/or water. In certain circumstances, this enhanced travel document makes it easy to travel between Canada and the USA. The enhanced features allow the individual to cross the border easily and efficiently.
Currently, the only Canadian provinces to offer the enhanced documents are Manitoba, Ontario and BC. As noted below, Ontario may be canceling their program in 2019. In my view, this document is a poorly understood and little-known document that is cheap and easy to get.
- Alternative to a Passport;
- Helps people cross easily over the border;
- Less stuff in your wallet/ purse.
The Manitoba enhanced Driver’s Licence allows individuals to simply use their Licence to cross the border. We used to be able to do this when crossing into the USA; however, the laws changed so that regular (non-enhanced) Driver’s Licences are no longer sufficient to enter the United States:
By Land and Sea (including ferries) – Canadian citizens traveling to the U.S. by land or sea are required to present one of the travel documents listed below, and may generally visit the U.S. for up to six months. CBP will accept: Canadian passport, Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card, NEXUS, FAST/EXPRES and SENTRI enrollment cards.
Ontario recently proposed to discontinue this service and they have eliminated this option:
Ontario is proposing to eliminate an enhanced driver’s licence that allows people to enter the United States at land and water border crossings without a passport.
The driver’s licence option was introduced in 2009, when the U.S. required passports or other secure identification for anyone crossing into the country by land or sea, but it hasn’t had the anticipated uptake.
British Columbia and Manitoba have enhanced driver’s licences, and Quebec used to, but phased out the program — other provinces rejected the idea because it was too costly or there wasn’t enough public interest.
If you or your contacts are interested in the enhanced travel document, please contact our office and we can help with the application.