Driving to U.S.?

Last updated: January 2017

B.C.'s EDL and EIC

Visiting friends in Washington state? Planning a weekend of shopping in Seattle? Heading south to fill up on gas?

To cross into the U.S., everyone must show a passport or other approved document. Why worry about carrying and keeping track of an extra piece of ID to get you across the border when B.C.'s new enhanced driver's licence (EDL) or enhanced identification card (EIC) do it all for you.

These convenient, wallet-sized cards are approved for land and water travel to the U.S.*

Benefits of an EDL or EIC

  • Allows you to use the new "Ready Lanes" installed at some border crossings, so you can get through more quickly.

  • Wallet-sized so it's easy to keep with you.

  • Good for business or pleasure travel to the U.S. by land or water.

  • Built-in security features to prevent fraud and identity theft.

  • Available to every qualified member of your family 12 years of age and over.

*A passport is still required for air travel to, through or from the U.S.

Getting an EDL or EIC

An EDL or EIC is easy to get if you meet all the requirements. You'll need:

  • a Canadian birth certificate or approved Canadian citizenship document,

  • a Canadian or U.S. driver's licence (for an EDL only), and

  • one additional piece of acceptable identification.

If you've changed your name due to marriage, divorce or other personal reasons, you'll need to show us any supporting documents.

All documents must be originals, legible, and not torn or altered in any way.

For full details and information on acceptable identification and how to apply, refer to Your Guide to B.C.'s Enhanced Driver's Licence Program or get a copy from any driver licensing office.

What's the cost?

An EDL or EIC costs only $35, plus the regular cost of your driver's licence or BCID card.

What customers are saying ...

"I travel to the U.S. about 50 times a year to attend collector car shows. The enhanced driver's licence has been great. I have my EDL with me at all times, so it's easy to cross the border and I don't have to worry about taking any other travel document. I highly recommend the EDL for frequent travelers like me."
- Paul Pappas, North Vancouver

"Applying for my EDL was easier than I expected. I had my three-year old twins and new daughter with me during the appointment and couldn't believe how straightforward it was. When we crossed the border using our EDLs, it was quick and easy. I'm very impressed with the whole process."
- Shawna Hall, Brentwood Bay

Steps to apply for an EDL or EIC

  1. Read Your Guide to BC's Enhanced Driver's Licence Program to confirm that you meet the requirements.
  2. Book your application appointment online or by phone at 1-866-972-6888 Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m. See locations that offer EDL appointments on icbc.com.
  3. Use the application checklist to prepare for your EDL appointment.
  4. Before your appointment, review the consent form and citizenship questionnaire and be sure you can answer all questions on the citizenship questionnaire.

You'll find the application checklist, citizenship questionnaire and consent form on icbc.com.

After you receive your EDL or EIC

When you receive your EDL or EIC you'll also receive instructions on how to activate your card, and you'll need to do this within 30 days. Please allow at least 72 hours before you use it to enter the U.S. the very first time. This gives us enough time to let border officials know that your card has been activated.

Questions?

Is my EDL good for re-entry into Canada?

Yes. Your EDL is proof of your citizenship and identity and can be used to re-enter Canada.

Is my EDL only good for entry into the U.S. from B.C. into Washington State?

No. Your EDL can be used to enter the U.S. at any Canadian land or water port of entry.

How secure is my EDL?

Your EDL contains the same security features as the B.C. driver's licence we introduced in 2009. The protective sleeve you receive with your EDL card provides additional security for your protection.

Is my personal information safe with an RFID chip in the EDL card?

The radio frequency identification (RFID) chip contains two unique numbers. One number allows U.S. border officers to identify you as you approach the customs booth and the other number prevents the card from being cloned.

Your personal information is safely stored in a secure database in Canada maintained by the federal government. The protective sleeve you receive with your enhanced card prevents the RFID chip from being read when it's not being used to cross the border.

Can I use my EDL for air travel to the U.S.?

No. Your EDL is good for entry into the U.S. by land or water only. Canadian citizens travelling to, through, or from the U.S. by air require a valid passport or other approved travel document.

What does my 12 year-old son need for identification to travel to the U.S. by land or water?

An EIC, passport, Canadian birth certificate or approved Canadian citizenship document are all acceptable. However, persons 15 and under may also need additional identification when not accompanied by their parents, such as when travelling with a school or other organized group. For more information, check the Canada Border Services Agency website at www.cbsa.gc.ca.

Can I combine an EDL with a BC Services Card?

No. The RFID chip in the EDL is not compatible with the security chip in the BC Services Card. Apply for a stand-alone photo BC Services Card. Or surrender your EDL, apply for an EIC and then you will be able to apply for a combined B.C. driver's licence and BC Services Card.

More information

Appointments for your EDL or EIC application are available at designated driver licensing offices in these locations:

AbbotsfordPort Coquitlam
BurnabyPrince George
KamloopsRichmond:
  • Lansdowne
  • Centre Mall
KelownaSurrey:
  • Guildford (Boardwalk Mall)
  • Cloverdale (Clover Square Village)
NanaimoVancouver:
  • Royal Centre
  • Point Grey
North VancouverVictoria

For complete EDL information, read Your Guide to B.C.'s Enhanced Driver's Licence Program or get a copy at any of our driver licensing offices.

Book your application appointment for an EDL or EIC online or call our EDL customer line at 1-866-972-6888 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Last updated: January 2017

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Last updated: January 2017