New Enhanced Driver's License in MN Creating Some Confusion - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

New Enhanced Driver's License in MN Creating Some Confusion

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(KARE 11 TV) ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota is one of just five states that offers an enhanced driver's license option.

Haven't heard of it? You're not alone.

There are roughly 4.4 million people in the state with a valid driver's license, a tiny fraction of those have the enhanced license.

"There are about 2,000 enhanced driver's licenses and identification cards that have been issued since they went into effect in February," says Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Director of Communications, Bruce Gordon.

That's a pretty small percentage. So small, in fact, that most people don't know much about the licenses or how to recognize them. That is what Uriah Salo quickly learned.

"I'm happy that I have it and I'm happy about the flexibility it gives me, but it does look extremely fake," says Salo.

Turns out, the folks at a casino he visited recently thought it looked fake too.

"I got six security guards involved in the incident and they had to get a police officer involved to look at the I.D. and verify that it was actually real," he says.

What exactly is an enhanced license? It allows people to travel between Minnesota, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas without a passport. It works if you're traveling by land or sea but not by air. It's also cheaper than a passport at just $15 more than a regular license and gives you one less thing to carry.

And it does look different. It is shiny and more stiff than a regular license. It has the word enhanced on the front, as well as an American flag.

"And inside the enhanced driver's license is a radio frequency identification chip that is used at the border, so that the border agents are able to verify your identity with a federal data base," says Gordon.

The same kind of data base where passport information is stored. The Department of Public Safety says they have not heard of any other issues like the one Uriah experienced and that law enforcement are trained and well aware of the new licenses.

Find out more information at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
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