We all love to travel and see new places. The United States has thousands of destinations worth visiting that don't require you to get a passport. But, for the most part if you plan to leave our borders, you have to have a US Passport.

First U.S. Commercial Airline Flight To Cuba Departs From Florida
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However, if you and your friends decide to plan a spontaneous trip across the Ambassador Bridge for this weekend, you're not going to have enough time to get a passport if you don't have a valid one waiting.

U.S. Customs Implements US-VISIT Program
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But, that doesn't mean you can't tag along if you have a certain Michigan identification card.

How can I get into Canada without a US Passport?

Thanks to the passing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, the US started to roll out the requirements to offer enhanced IDs for citizens who plan to fly in an airplane.

Canadian Trucker Blockade At The Ambassador Bridge On U.S. Canadian Border Creates Gridlock
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These IDs, also known as Real IDs, are a little more difficult to obtain and carry a national standard of security, so they are seen as a little more like a passport than your standard driver's license. You may already know of them as "enhanced IDs".

Countries you can visit with just your Michigan enhanced / real ID include...

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • American Samoa

So you can do a fair amount of close traveling without needing a passport. HOWEVER - you cannot fly into these countries with just an enhanced / Real ID. So if you plan to fly, make sure you have a proper passport.

How do I get a Real ID in Michigan?

It's the same process as getting your standard driver's license, but with extra proofs of identification.

State of Michigan
State of Michigan

According to the state of Michigan's website: To convert to a REAL ID, visit a Secretary of State office and provide the following documents:

  • Your current Michigan driver’s license or ID.
  • A valid, unexpired U.S. passport, birth certificate, or other proof of legal presence document
  • A certified legal name-change document, if your name is different from what is on your birth certificate.

They also say that there is no added charge for converting to a Real ID if you do it while renewing or replacing your license or ID. Otherwise, there is a small correction fee (less than $10) to convert your existing ID.

Did You Know Michigan Has Nine Border Crossings Into Canada?

Michigan has more than just the Ambassador Bridge to get you to Canada. Check out all nine international border crossings that connect Michigan and Canada. 

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