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SENTRI Trusted Traveler Card

SENTRI Trusted Traveler ProgramDo you frequently travel between the United States and Mexico? Would you like a quicker and more efficient way to cross the border? For business citizens, their time is precious and therefore they need a more convenient and less time consuming way of entering in and out of the US border but still with approved immigration papers. This is where SENTRI comes in as well as other partner traveler programs. Specifically, SENTRI is a WHTI-compliant document that brings you a more convenient way to cross the U.S. and Mexico border with a pre-approved pass or ID.

SENTRI or Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection is one of the trusted traveler programs under the U.S. CBP and the Immigration of Mexico. It is for pre-approved travelers who cross the US and Mexico border often. It also has added benefit to access commuter lanes on the southern border. This is usually issued to low risk travelers who voluntarily undergo through rigorous background checks from the US immigration. Basically, this is your easy access or pass when travelling to and from the US and Mexico border.

SENTRI was first implemented at the Otay Mesa, California port of entry on November 1, 1995. Today it has available vast commuter or special lanes for SETRI card holders that are pre-approved. This makes it easier to cross the border of US and Mexico. Once an applicant is approved they are issued a Radio Frequency Identification Document (RFID) that will identify their record and status in the CBP database upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry. A sticker decal is also issued to the applicant´s vehicle or motorcycle. SENTRI users have access to specific, dedicated primary lanes into the United States.

How SENTRI works

If you are an approved international traveler with the SENTRI card and the SENTRI sticker in your registered vehicle, as you cross the international border of Mexico or the US, the system automatically identifies the vehicle and the identity of the occupants of the vehicle. This is accomplished through the following:

  • The RFID cards contain a file number that is scanned and read upon arrival.
  • The file number of the card triggers the participant´s data to be brought up on the CBP Officer´s screen.
  • The data is verified by the CBP Officer and the traveler is released or referred for additional inspections.

However, you do not have to worry about confidential information to be vulnerable to public eyes because not all the data is stored in the chip, only the necessary data for the CBP officer on the border to release and allow you to cross the border.

Simultaneously, license plate readers and computers perform queries of the vehicles and occupants against law enforcement databases that are continuously updated. This is done so as to still ensure the physical borders of the foreign country.

You will not have to wait in long lanes and waste your time in rigorous immigration inquiries because the information needed by the Border control officers is being given n advance upon your arrival. This reduces the average and normal time it takes for you to cross the US and Mexico borders.

How to apply for SENTRI

Application if SENTRI is done online via Global Online Enrollment System (GOES). This is a CBP approved website that helps applicant apply and monitor their application for trusted traveler programs such as SENTRI. Upon successful online enrolment (true and correct information of online papers and requirements) there is will be a notice if you are under "Conditional approval" or "Denial". If you are under "Conditional approval" you would need to get a personal interview appointment upon within 30 days of the pre-approved date of your application online. Failure to schedule one will mean denial of application. However, it will still be possible to apply another application in the future should your first application be denied. You should also bring necessary documents during the personal interview such as citizenship proofs, valid IDs and registration of your vehicle/s. Should you not have access to the internet, you can apply through SENTRI Enrollment Centers and fill up Form 823S.

SENTRI provides expedited CBP processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers who enter the SU and Mexico border frequently. Applicants must voluntarily undergo a thorough biographical background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration, and terrorist indices; a 10-fingerprint law enforcement check; and a personal interview with a CBP Officer before they have the chance of attaining their SENTRI Card and Vehicle Sticker.

It is also good to know that you can actually apply more than one (maximum of 4) vehicles under sentry and more than one (Maximum of 8) persons per vehicle. This will be possible for an additional fees or charge for the processing.

Fees for SENTRI application

  • Application Fee: $25.00 per person (or a maximum of $50.00 total for husband, wife and minor children).
  • Fingerprint Fee: $14.50 (applicants 14 years and older)
  • System Costs Fee: $82.75 per person (or a maximum of $165.50 total for a husband, wife and minor children)
  • Total Fee: $122.25 per person

Other Fees:

  • $42.00 per vehicle - for more than one vehicle application or more than one person per vehicle
  • $25.00 - replacement fee for a lost, stolen, or destroyed card and;
  • $42.00 - replacement fee for a lost, stolen or destroyed vehicle ID tag

Payments are made through Certified Check, Money order, electronic bank transfer or major credit card (Master, Visa, American Express) at Local SENTRI Enrollment Centers. Please take note of a $30.00 charge imposed if a check is not honored by the bank on which it was drawn. All fees are non-refundable.

Should a first or initial application made be denied, this will not prevent the applicant to apply again in the future. However, a new set of fees will be again charged to the applicant for the whole process.

Application for the SENTRI card and SENTRI Vehicle sticker ID is made through The Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) or through Local SENTRI Enrollment Centers. SENTRI is renewable and valid for 5 years. Click the link for SENTRI Application Form 823S.

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