Manufacturing personnel that take up residence on the US border in order to support their company’s maquiladora manufacturing operations should obtain a SENTRI pass in order to expedite their crossing of the US border on daily return trips home from a day at work in the plant. On busy days  at larger ports of entry, border waits can be up to three hours. With a SENTRI pass, however, on average each vehicle inspection takes just 10 seconds. Anyone can apply for a pass, and the cost is minimal.

How It Works

In order to take advantage of this option to expedite crossing the US border, applicants undergo a thorough background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration, and terrorist indices; a full, two-hand fingerprinting; and a personal interview with a CBP Officer. These actions are taken to ensure that applicants and recipients of the SENTRI pass are “low-risk travelers.” Once approved, frequent border crossers are issued ID cards equipped with RFID tracking technology.

At border crossings into the US from Mexico, those that have passes may expedite crossing the US Border with SENTRI by choosing the SENTRI lanes. These special conduits for crossing the international boundary feature considerably shorter lines, even at peak times. As the border crosser nears the SENTRI kiosk, if he or she has been chosen to be outfitted with a transponder, their file will be triggered automatically on the computer of the on duty agent in the kiosk. Otherwise, the officer can simply read the ID card to pull up the file. Once the CBP officer verifies the accuracy of the data on the screen, the traveler is free to cross into the US.

Because information is pulled up in advance of the inspection, the inspection time is cut drastically. The RFID technology broadcasts only the key to trigger the traveler’s profile in the CBP database, and does not actually broadcast any sensitive information about the crosser’s profile. As long as the profile is in good standing, the inspection lasts only about 10 seconds and serves only to verify the accuracy of the information already collected prior to the inspection.

How to apply in order to expedite crossing the US border with SENTRI

To apply for this special program, submit an application via the GOES website, and upon receiving conditional approval, schedule an appointment within 30 days for your CBP interview. An application cost of $25 per personal will be due at the time of application. Additional fees, usually amounting to approximately $100 per person, will be due at the time of the interview.

The following documentation will also be required during both the application and the interview:

  • Original US citizenship or immigration authorization documentation
  • A valid driver’s license or state ID
  • Vehicle registration and proof of auto insurance
  • Notarized authorization to operate any vehicles not registered in the name of the applicant
  • Evidence of residence, such as receipts for rent or mortgage payments, etc.
  • Evidence of financial viability or employment (tax returns, business license, payroll stub, etc.)