NEWPORT - Enhanced driver’s licenses (EDL) for border crossing are now available in Newport Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), officials announced Thursday. Local and State officials alike are excited about it.
A group of dignitaries held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the DMV office in Newport located in the Emory Hebard State Building Thursday. With all the new development proposed for the area, and the close proximity to the border, it is a long-awaited, welcomed additional they said. Rep. Duncan Kilmartin said that Newport was a Queen City until it began its demise in the 1940s. Now, he said, the city is on the verge of a true renaissance, and offering the enhanced drivers licenses is a part of it. Kilmartin has often complained about the lack of full service at the DMV in Newport and that is all changing, he said with a smile.
Vermont is one of only four states in the nation to offer the EDL. The state began offering them in 2009, and since then about 57,000 have been sold, said DMV Commissioner Robert Ide.
“They have been very popular with Vermonters, especially those who regularly travel to Canada,” Ide said.
EDL can be used as a passport when entering the United States after travelling to Canada and Mexico by land, or the Caribbean and Bermuda by sea.
The DMV has received continuing requests for the enhanced licenses since border crossing to and from Canada now requires a passport. The EDL is the least expensive document for border crossing, compared to the U.S. Passport booklet and the passport card. The EDL costs an additional $25 on top of the regular driver’s license fee.
Previously those who wanted the EDL would have to travel to Montpelier, South Burlington, or Rutland.
Newport DMV employees have gone through extensive training. Photo identification, proof of U.S. Citizenship, proof of Social Security number, and a document showing name and address are required before issuance of the cards. The DMV website offers information on the document. The process takes about 20 minutes, so the DMV warns to expect wait time, and make sure the correct documents are available.
The license is equipped with a Radio Frequency Identification Device so border officers can obtain travelers' information even before they present the card at a border crossing booth.
The DMV in Newport began issuing the EDL about one month ago but did not want to advertise until everything was in place in order to have a smooth transition, explained Marina Neumann, the Newport office supervisor.