Friday, May 29, 2009

We got our permis de conduire Plus

In order to maintain our Canadian-citizen access to the USA, we just got a Permis de conduire Plus from the SAAQ.

Translation for non-quebecers: We just got our US Homeland Security-approved driver's license with a chip inside (a puce in french) which will allow us to make land-crossings across the nearby US border in to America. (We have Vermont, New York, Maine, and New Hampshire to choose from -- it's a pretty good part of the USA).

(Another note to non-quebecers: The SAAQ sells us drivers licenses, the SAQ sells us wine and liquor, the SQ is the provincial police force. it can be useful to know the difference.)

The process went well, but then we did follow the procedures and showed up with the forms completed (and unsigned) and all additional information (basically, a birth certificate).

We were surprised to learn that US Customs will keep our information for file for 75 years. But then, maybe we will live for over 100 years. Some things you just don't know how they'll turn out.

The Permis Plus (as we call it) isn't a passport (you need one of those to enter the USA via an airplane), and we do prefer not to be a uber-polluter with air travel. Nor do we look forward to getting ripped off $150 bucks each way to carry a bike on a plane. Or have to pay extortionate "airport facility charges" just for the privilege of walking through the airport to the plane.

We forgot to mention, our incentive is the fact that after June 1, 2009, Canadians must have a passport or Permis-plus type drivers license in order to cross the US Border into America. Without this proof of citizenship, you should get ready to experience the awesome power of the US Customs to ruin your day. The easy solution is to get a Permis Plus or a passport. So we did.

Read here for news stories on this.

Here is the SAAQ permis plus web page.


At 7:40 PM, Blogger Catherine said...

Just a friendly warning. Anyone can read the information on your card with a reader worth a couple of hundred dollars from across the room.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Cycle Fun Montreal said...

Thank you for the fear and paranoia. If you believe every hyped-MUST-BE-AFRAID thing you read in the paper, then don't ever leave the house!

The identity theft thing is way overblown, hype-galore and the fact is, the tests that tried to clone the card number never got your file at the SAAQ (and all media conveniently avoided asking this critical question in their never-ending quest for HYPE and FEAR!).

This is beside the point that the card is kept in an envelope that blocks the rfid chip from being read.

So if someone makes a fake card with your card number and uses it to cross the border, US Customs will read the number, and then your photo shows up, and imagine the surprise of the US Customs agent when someone else's face is on the person he is interrogating!

So I don't think anyone can use a cloned drivers license to cross the border. Not gonna happen. On the other hand, the US Customs will keep your info for 75 years.

Conclusion: if you're worried about something, try driving slower, it will have a much better impact on the health and well-being of you, the other people you share the planet with, and the planet itself.


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