JENKS – On Sept. 10, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Citizenship Office began issuing the Enhanced Tribal Card to citizens, which is an acceptable ID under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and is similar to a U.S. Passport Card.
Under the WHTI, the ETC is a compliant document that will allow cardholders to travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean by land or sea, as well as enter federal buildings.
The MCN is the ninth tribe in the U.S. to issue the cards to its citizens and the first in Oklahoma.
The ETC is different than the MCN Citizenship Card and is offered to citizens at $45 as an additional ID valid for five years with $25 renewals, a lesser cost than a U.S. Passport Card.
In 2015, the MCN Citizenship Board began the process to allow the Nation to issue the ETC, which included several steps of approval from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
MCN Citizenship Director Nathan Wilson said the federal agencies visited the MCN facilities in Okmulgee, to approve security of the location. Unfortunately, due to the strenuous security requirements, the Okmulgee location was not approved to issue the ETC.
However, the MCN Citizenship Office located in Jenks received approval to issue the cards.
“The location of these cards has to be approved first because the cards have to be secured,” Wilson said. “The only people allowed to be in the actual office that houses the cards and the computer system are those approved through Border Protection and Department of Homeland Security and have that certification we have to get through training.”
The design of the ETC follows the citizenship card featuring the MCN Mound Building with every element of the card built around the security functionalities.
“We figured we would stick with the theme of the mound and it actually ended up really well because one of the biggest security features on the card is that image,” Nathan said. “It was kind of neat because when we submitted the card to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they said it was the most secured card that they have seen.”
MCN Citizenship System Administrator Jason Walls said once the tribe goes through the audit process and receives a good audit from the DHS, the ETC will be added to the federal registry giving the card additional accreditation.
Those interested in obtaining an ETC must already be a citizen of the tribe and provide a certified state-issued birth certificate, Social Security card, a valid state issued ID, as well as complete an in-person interview.
During the in-person interview, the citizen will be asked 8 randomly-selected questions out of a pool of 35 personal questions relevant to that individual.
A certain percentage of the questions must be answered correctly to be issued an ETC and only two additional attempts are available to citizens.
Beginning Sept. 10, the MCN Citizenship Office – Jenks will begin scheduling appointments for citizens to apply for the ETC.
Wilson said the next hurdle for the department is to implement a process to issue the ETC to at-large citizens at remote locations.
“We have talked to Homeland Security in regards to what we need,” Wilson said. “It’s just a matter of writing a policy and them approving that policy.”
That process would allow the department to conduct the in-person interviews but the actual cards would be generated at the office with the secured cardstock.
The Citizenship Office – Jenks is located at 1000 Riverwalk Terrace, Suite 220, Jenks, OK, 74037. For additional information on the ETC or to schedule an appointment, contact the Jenks location at (918) 701-2611.