NEXUS and SENTRI

NEXUS

The NEXUS program permits 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 designated Canadian pre-clearance 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. NEXUS members now have crossing privileges at air, land, and marine ports-of-entry.

Individuals approved to participate in NEXUS receive an identification card that allows them to:

  1. Receive expedited passage at NEXUS-dedicated lanes, airport kiosks, and by calling a marine telephone reporting center to report their arrival into the United States and Canada; and
  2. Cross the border with a minimum of customs and immigration questioning.

NEXUS applicants only need to submit one application and one fee. Applicants may apply on-line via the CBP Global On-Line Enrollment System (GOES) website.  GOES-qualified applicants are required to travel to a NEXUS Enrollment Center for an interview. If they are approved for the program at that time, a photo identification card will be mailed to them within 7-10 business days. NEXUS allows United States and Canadian border agencies to concentrate their efforts on potentially higher-risk travelers and goods, which helps to ensure the security and integrity of our borders.

SENTRI

SENTRI provides expedited U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers to Mexico. Applicants must voluntarily undergo a thorough biographic 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.

Applicants may not qualify for participation in the SENTRI program if they:

  1. Provide false or incomplete information on the application;
  2. Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges to include outstanding warrants;
  3. Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration, or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
  4. Are subjects of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency;
  5. Are inadmissible to the United States under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation;
  6. Cannot satisfy CBP of their low risk status or meet other program requirements.

Once an applicant is approved, s/he is issued a Radio Frequency Identification Document (RFID) that will identify the 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.

Technical Process

When an approved international traveler approaches the border in the SENTRI lane, the system automatically identifies the vehicle and the identity of the occupants of the vehicle.

This is accomplished through the following:

  1. The RFID cards containing a file number that is read upon arrival.
  2. The file number triggering the participant’s data which is brought up on the CBP Officer’s screen.
  3. The data being verified by the CBP Officer and the traveler being released or referred for additional inspections.

All of the applicant data is stored in the secure CBP database. It is not stored on the card, and it is not transmitted with the RFID (RFID technology has the potential to track an individual’s movements, create a profile of an individual’s habits, and allow for secondary uses of that information).

Simultaneously, license plate readers and computers perform queries of the vehicles and occupants against law enforcement databases that are continuously updated. A combination of electric gates, tire shredders, traffic control lights, fixed iron bollards, and pop-up pneumatic bollards ensure physical control of the border crosser and his/her vehicle.

Participants in the program wait for much shorter periods of time than those in regular lanes waiting to enter the United States, even at the busiest time of day. Critical information required in the inspection process is provided to the Officer in advance of the passenger’s arrival thus reducing the inspection time from an average of 30-40 seconds down to an average of 10 seconds.

Application Information

Applicants to the SENTRI Program may submit their application online using GOES. Once the application is certified as true and complete, it is submitted to CBP for processing. Applicants can monitor the status of their applications by logging back into GOES, and will be advised of "Conditional Approval", or "Denial" through the GOES account posting. An application fee is charged at the time of application submission.

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