The SENTRI Pass: The original Trusted Traveler Program.
The oldest one as well, the SENTRI Pass or SENTRI stands for:
“Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection”
It was developed in 1995 and deployed into service at the Otay Mesa border crossing and saving SENTRI pass members hours waiting border lines when returning to the U.S.
Since then, SENTRI lanes have expanded to include 13 border stations in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
The original benefit of the SENTRI pass was to allow individuals (now called Trusted Travelers) expedited access back into the U.S. from Mexico.
More programs have been developed by the CBP and the Department of Homeland Security (Global Entry, TSA PreCheck) to meet their specific situations such as international travel, airport security and expedited border crossings to/from Canada (NEXUS).
As such, SENTRI members get access to TSA PreCheck lanes as the use of Global Entry Customs kiosks upon return to the U.S. from air travel abroad and use of NEXUS lanes when returning to the U.S. from Canada
SENTRI pass is available for:
- US citizens
- Mexican citizens
- Lawful US residents of other countries
SENTRI program members can access SENTRI lanes when returning to the U.S. from Mexico.
This is the main benefit for most people in southern states and along the border towns between the United States and Mexico. It was and still is the original goal of the program since it’s inception in 1995.
By being managed by the CBP, SENTRI members also gain access to Global Entry customs kiosks when returning to the US from travel abroad as well as use of NEXUS lanes when returning to the U.S. from Canada.
How to use a SENTRI pass – U.S. Customs and Immigration
By having a SENTRI pass, members of the program can use Global Entry Customs Kiosks when entering back into the US from travel abroad.
By using the kiosk you do not have to fill out the Customs Declaration card upon landing back into the US and can skip the immigration line.
This is a massive time saver!
Using a kiosk is a easy. Just make sure you push in your passport all the way into the the scanner.
The process involves scanning your passport, fingertips and answering a few customs questions, similar to what is on the declaration form.
Smile for the camera and you’ll get a “personal receipt” that you present to the immigration officer.
You are done and back on home soil without having to wait in line.
There are virtually no lines to access a kiosk and you can be through in moments.
Customs = Your Bags / Immigration = You
Though, folks have mentioned that everyone usually ends up waiting for their luggage anyway after passing immigration.
True, in some cases. However, you’ll still need to lug your luggage through Customs.
This line is usually very long complete with people and all their gear.
SENTRI pass holders have their own line for you to to clear customs and finally make it back to the US.
Take your “personal receipt” to the Customs officer in line and you’ll be waved on through. No questions asked.
You’re through in no time. No need to show your SENTRI pass or SENTRI card either.
You will make your flight connections because of this.
SENTRI pass Cost
Unfortunately, the SENTRI pass does cost more than all other traveler programs.
The cost of a SENTRI pass is $122.25 for 5 years
You can apply for SENTRI pass through the GOES.
- $25 for initial online application
- $14.50 Fingerprint fee (applicants 14 years old and older)
- $82.75 System Cost Fee
All GOES SENTRI applications are completed online or by filling out paper GOES SENTRI application by hand and turning it in to one of 13 SENTRI enrollment centers.
SENTRI applications completed through GOES are non-refundable, even if your application is denied.
Denial can occur after your initial online application or after your in person SENTRI interview.
Use a SENTRI lane ONCE and you have already essentially “paid” for itself in the amount of time you get back.
A SENTRI pass can be used to access either SENTRI lanes when returning to the U.S. in vehicle (car, truck or motorcycle) or when walking back on foot.
The process is the same in either instance and both will save you hours if used more than once.
Already a SENTRI member? Need more information on what it does or how to use your SENTRI pass? Read over our Ultimate SENTRI guide for complete details on getting the most out of your SENTRI pass.