Trusted Traveler Programs Can Reduce Your Travel Stress
If you are a frequent international traveler, you may benefit from enrollment in one of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler programs. The Trusted Traveler programs allow CBP to pre-screen the traveler resulting in expedited admission for the traveler and allowing CBP to focus its time and attention on higher-risk travelers.
Each of the Trusted Traveler programs require a thorough background check and an application fee, and exclude anyone with even a minor criminal, immigration or customs violation. For those enrolled, participation can significantly reduce a person’s travel time. For example, at the San Ysidro, California land border port of entry, when the wait in one of the standard vehicle lanes is 2 hours, a SENTRI holder may breeze through the SENTRI lane in 10 minutes.
Below please find information on each of the Trusted Traveler Programs:
Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST
To apply for a Trusted Traveler program: https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes
Airport and land border wait times: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/wait_times/
Global Entry is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders), Dutch citizens, South Korean citizens and Mexican nationals. Application fee: $100.
Global Entry allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.
At airports, program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.
While Global Entry’s goal is to speed travelers through the process, members may be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in appropriate enforcement action and revocation of the traveler’s membership privileges.
Note from Larrabee, Albi, Coker LLP: If you are a Dutch, South Korean or Mexican citizen with a U.S. nonimmigrant work-authorizing visa seeking to use the Global Entry system, you must go through CBP’s Secondary Inspections to be admitted in the proper nonimmigrant status; otherwise the default Global Entry admission for nonimmigrants is as a tourist.
Utilization of Global Entry Kiosks by NEXUS and SENTRI Members:
NEXUS members may use Global Entry at no additional cost by using the automated kiosks for entry at participating airports. NEXUS members will need to check their status in their Global Online Enrollment System account, as they may need to submit their 10-fingerprints or any other necessary documentation in order to receive Global Entry benefits. ( GOES )
U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident SENTRI members may use Global Entry at no additional cost by using the automated kiosks for entry at participating airports. SENTRI members will need to check their status in their Global Online Enrollment System GOES account, as they may need to submit their 10-fingerprints or any other necessary documentation in order to receive Global Entry benefits.
Mexican national SENTRI members can apply for Global Entry benefits at no additional fee. Mexican nationals will need to submit a Global Entry application and pass a thorough risk assessment conducted by the Mexican government before receiving full Global Entry benefits.
Facilitates admission at the U.S./ Canada land border
Available to U.S. citizens and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents. Application fee: $50
NEXUS members have crossing privileges at air, land, and marine ports of entry. Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the NEXUS card has been approved as an alternative to the passport for air, land, and sea travel into the United States for US and Canadian citizens.
The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing by United States and Canadian officials at dedicated processing lanes at designated northern border ports of entry, at NEXUS kiosks at Canadian Preclearance airports, and at marine reporting locations. Approved applicants are issued a photo-identification, proximity Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card. Participants use the three modes of passage where they will either present their NEXUS card or have their iris scanned and make a declaration.
Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection
Facilitates admission at the U.S./ Mexico land border
Available to any nationality. Application fee: $122.25.
SENTRI provides expedited CBP processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. 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.
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.
SENTRI was first implemented at the Otay Mesa, California port of entry on November 1, 1995. SENTRI Dedicated Commuter Lanes also exist in El Paso, TX; San Ysidro, CA; Calexico, CA; Nogales, AZ; Hidalgo, TX; Brownsville, TX; Anzalduas, TX; Laredo, TX; and San Luis, AZ.
Free and Secure Trade Program
The FAST program is open to enrollment by U.S., Canadian and Mexican truck drivers.
The FAST program is a commercial clearance program for known low-risk shipments entering the U.S. from Canada and Mexico; it allows U.S./Canada and U.S./ Mexico partnering importers expedited release for qualifying commercial shipments. Initiated after 9/11, this trusted traveler/ trusted shipper program allows for expedited processing for commercial carriers who have completed background checks and fulfill certain eligibility requirements. More than 87,000 commercial drivers are currently enrolled in the FAST program nationwide.
FAST processing exists at 55 of the 105 northern and southern land border ports that process commercial cargo. Participation in FAST requires that every link in the supply chain, from manufacturer to carrier to driver to importer is certified under the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. C-TPAT is a voluntary government-private sector partnership in which companies involved in commerce destined for the U.S. demonstrate that they have implemented enhanced security measures within their facilities and day-to-day operations to prevent terrorists and weapons of mass effect from infiltrating the supply chain.