Now over 1 million members signed up for the “SENTRI, FAST, NEXUS and Global Entry Program under the Trusted Travelers Programs, according to U.S. Customs.
This program literally allows frequent travelers to Mexico, generally Students, Maquiladora Employees, and those who visit relatives or businesses regularly, to circumvent the normal transit times of an hour to three hours it normally takes to cross from Mexico back to the U.S. in their vehicle.
There are numerous advantages, as well as disadvantages to this program.
Primarily, you must apply, and pay for the privilege to acquire this “Fast Pass” as it is normally called. Background checks are performed, and if you qualify there are some realistically easy rules to follow. However, if you happen to break any of these rules, consequences are swift and sometimes severe. Failure to notify the U.S. Customs Agents what, if anything, you are bringing back from Mexico can quickly remove your privilege of literally saving hundreds of hours annually from your commute. Additionally, fines usually accompany those who break the rules. Most of the times, it seems to be those who cannot resist the temptation of bringing to the U.S. cheap produce like avocados, tomatoes, poultry, well you get the idea.
Cost for this permit runs higher on the Mexican side than the U.S. (generally $ 122.25 per person in U.S., about 2 times more in Mexico) Though I can’t understand “Why”, since the wait time is always from Mexico to the U.S. Maybe because of the loss of revenue generated by the collected tolls at these same bridges or ports?
Each person in the vehicle must posses this permit. Again, well worth it if you can afford it, especially if you cross the border frequently.
Here is a link to the U.S. site that allows you into the SENTRI Program.
Click on the SENTRI text. Go to the appropriate area of interest from there.
If that fails, go to: www.cbp.gov/ Follow instructions, remembering key word SENTRI.
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