WINNIPEG, Man. — Manitoba is introducing an enhanced identification card (EIC) as a less-expensive alternative to a passport that will permit entry to the US by land or water, Attorney General Dave Chomiak announced.
The Manitoba government proclaimed legislation this week that gives the green light to the voluntary program which will help Manitobans meet new US border crossing rules that take effect this June. The government indicates that the EIC will be a more affordable and convenient option for Manitobans who choose this card instead of a passport, in order to enter the US via land crossings.
Manitobans with passports may also want to have one of these wallet-sized cards because they can be carried all the time and will allow spontaneous visits to the US.
Manitobans will be among the first in the country to be able to obtain an approved, affordable alternative to the passport for travelling to the US. The Manitoba card is now in the final stages of approval by the US government.
“The new card will be offered to Manitobans on a voluntary basis and we expect it to be a popular choice. Besides costing less than a passport, the new card will have several security features and be more convenient to carry,” said Chomiak, who is also minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance, which is delivering the new program.
Starting Feb. 2, any Canadian citizen who is a resident of Manitoba can apply for the new card. Through Autopac brokers and Manitoba Public Insurance service outlets, Manitobans will be able to book appointments for the interview that will determine whether they will qualify for an EIC.
“This is an important achievement in our ongoing efforts to ensure that trade and travel across our borders are not disrupted as a result of changes to US entry requirements under the US Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative,” said Vic Toews, president of the Treasury Board, on behalf of Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan.
“At the same time, we are maintaining high security standards. Enhanced identification cards and enhanced driver’s licences can serve as an acceptable and secure alternative to passports at US land and water border crossings.”
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