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Trusted Traveler Programs for Faster Border Crossings

Are you a frequent traveler who crosses borders between the United States and Canada or Mexico? Does it waste your precious business time to wait in long lines in order to enter and be approved by the immigration agents in border points? Maybe you should consider getting a trusted traveler program to ease your frequent cross boarder travel problems. However, there is eligibility for it. Here is how it works.

 A Trusted Traveler Program allows approved members to easily cross borders between either US & Canada or US & Mexico. This is a U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) approved program. It means that holders of pre-approved ID card under the three trusted traveler programs - NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST and the Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network- have the privilege of expedited passage between the US & Canada Boarder under NEXUS, US & Mexico Border funder SENTRI, and both in and out of US & Canada and US & Mexico for drivers in the FAST program.

What are the difference between NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST?

Basically, they are all documents that are compliant with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative to facilitate the crossing of borders more easily with the use of their approved photo identification cards. NEXUS is the one for you if you are a frequent border of the US and Canada. This is a joint program of the US and Canada for those who want to enter in and out of the US-Canadian border via air (airport to airport), Sea, and land travels. Another, SENTRI is what you want if you are a frequent cross border of US & Mexico. They provide you with pre-approved land and sea travel to the US and Mexico border as well as an expedite travel pass to enter the countries' borders. Basically, the NEXUS is for the northern border while SENTRI is for the Southern border. FAST on the other hand is issued to an eligible commercial truck driver or drivers that make fully qualified fast trips between US and Canada or to the US from Mexico. It is also used for entry to the US by land and by sea.

What are the benefits of such program?

The benefits of eligible and approved members of each program will be a more easy and less time consuming entry when crossing borders of included countries. This means they will have a personal kiosk or lane when in cross border points in the airports and reserved lanes when travelling by land. They also have the privilege to phone a border official in sea ports and report their arrival to that certain cross border port. With the use of their photo identification card with proximity RFID chip, they will be able to enter cross borders easier and with less immigration questioning.

How do I apply for such program?

Online application is available for applicant who thinks they can be eligible for such travel programs. They can apply online via the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) on the web. After which they will be prompted to have a personal interview appointment in the nearest Enrollment Centers depending on the type of program they have applied for. They should bring supporting documents and identification and nationality proofs. They should also be ready for a rigorous background checks for criminal and falsification cases. Moreover, they should also bring their required processing fees (also depends on the type of Program). There will one application and one type of fee for the application processing. Interviews are also conducted individually depending on the schedule of appointment.

Since not all persons are eligible for such travel program, it is best to assess yourself and your documents first before attempting to apply for the programs. If you think you have the right purpose and need to be eligible for the program then get right on and apply online. It is also good to remember that should the travel program centers find a potential high risk for you entering their borders, you will still be subject to further and rigorous immigration questioning and inquiry.


About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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