Enhanced Driver’s Licence (EDL) and Enhanced Identification Card (EIC) Programs

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has worked closely with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to support interested provinces and territories in the development and implementation of the Enhanced Driver’s Licence (EDL) and/or the Enhanced Identification Card (EIC). These secure documents denote identity and Canadian citizenship for the purpose of cross-border travel into the U.S.A. at land and water ports of entry. They are an alternate document to the Canadian passport. For the purposes of this guidance, “EDL” will refer to both the EDL and the EIC.

The EDL is a voluntary program open to all Canadian citizens residing in a province or territory that has implemented an EDL program. As part of the application process, EDL applicants are required to provide proof of Canadian citizenship to the provincial EDL issuing authority as well as to complete a citizenship questionnaire.

The provinces of Quebec, Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia have negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with CIC and the CBSA prior to the implementation of their respective EDL programs. This initiative may have an impact on the operations of the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia and the Call Centre, as it is possible that many cross-border travellers will seek confirmation of Canadian citizenship in order to apply for an EDL. It is also possible that provincial EDL issuing authorities will contact the local CIC office for information.

Learn more:

Who can apply for an EDL?

Provinces require that each applicant complete an EDL application and provide documentary evidence of Canadian citizenship and identity. For additional information on each province’s individual application requirements consult their website:

Some provinces will also issue an EIC to persons who are not licensed to drive. Individuals will be allowed to hold either an EDL or an EIC, not both.

CIC’s role

CIC has committed to assist the provinces and territories by providing guidance on what constitutes satisfactory evidence of Canadian citizenship. This includes developing a citizenship questionnaire for EDL applicants, providing a list of acceptable citizenship documents and delivering training on citizenship to the provincial issuing authorities to mitigate the risks of potentially issuing an EDL to someone who is not a Canadian citizen.

The EDL citizenship questionnaire developed by CIC is a tool for the provinces to identify applicants who may need to be referred to CIC to clarify their citizenship status and in some cases to apply for an updated citizenship certificate. CIC’s citizenship training material and training session given to the provincial trainers ensure consistency in the decision-making process as it relates to the examination of the citizenship questionnaire and of the documentary evidence of citizenship presented by an EDL applicant.

Inquiries from applicants

The EDL provincial issuing authorities have been advised to redirect clients who require additional documentary evidence of citizenship to either the CIC Call Centre or the CIC website. It is important to note that a referral from the province to CIC does not necessarily mean that there is doubt about a person's citizenship status. Since the provincial EDL issuing authority does not interpret the citizenship legislation nor verify the person's status, a referral may simply mean that a person needs an updated citizenship certificate to show that they are a citizen.

Clients may contact CIC in some of the following situations:

1. Before an interview is scheduled with the provincial authorities

The EDL citizenship questionnaire has been developed in such a way that an EDL applicant will be required to complete the questionnaire before the interview is scheduled. The applicant will be prompted to contact CIC in the event that clarification of their Canadian citizenship status is required. Depending on the situation, some clients will be required to complete and submit a proof of application.

In the event that an EDL applicant contacts the Call Center to obtain information on the EDL application process or the EDL application itself, the call center agent will refer the client to the appropriate provincial issuing authority for clarification or additional information.

Note: If the client is strictly calling to confirm their effective date of citizenship because they have lost their commemorative document, the call centre agent may, if satisfied of the identity of the client and if the information is readily available in the Global Case Management System, release that information to the client. If the client needs official confirmation, they will need to complete and submit a proof of application.

2. After the interview session with the provincial authorities

When the citizenship status of an EDL applicant is unclear, the applicant will be asked to consult CIC’s website to obtain and complete an application for proof of citizenship. In some cases the person may also contact the Call Center for assistance with the application form.

Region – Local offices

On occasion, the provinces enrolled in the EDL program may contact local CIC offices to validate the citizenship status of some of their applicants. Although CIC and CBSA have negotiated information sharing agreements with each province, these were developed only for the purpose of sharing information in the context of the quality assurance reviews and do not provide authority to release citizenship information to the province under the EDL program. The provinces have been provided a contact name at National Headquarters to use when they require clarification on citizenship matters.

EDL applicants who contact a local office to ask about the EDL program should be referred to the EDL issuing authority in their province, who will answer their questions. When the questions are specific about their Canadian citizenship status, the client should be referred to either the Call Centre or the CIC website to obtain additional information.

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