WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Vermont is to join Washington sate in its partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to try out driver licenses that also confirm citizenship.
The enhanced driver’s licenses will be more expensive and contain new security features similar to those found in U.S. passports, according to a Homeland Security statement Monday. Those who apply for them will have to produce proof of citizenship and identity, the department said.
New ID documents will be required of Americans and Canadians entering the United States by land or sea from next January, under tougher border regulations introduced by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the congressionally mandated Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
The problem is that at the moment, passports are the only form of ID that meets the new WHTI requirements, and critics are worried that the changes will bring commerce on the northern border to a grinding halt.
Washington state last year launched the first pilot project to allow residents to put their citizenship on the driver’s licenses, allowing them to serve as an acceptable alternative document under the new border rules.
“I’m pleased we will be able to provide this more reasonable option for Vermonters who travel frequently to Canada,” said Gov. Jim Douglas.