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Home >> Mexico Information >> SENTRI
SENTRI is the world's first automated dedicated commuter lane, using advanced Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) technology modified to meet the stringent law enforcement needs at the border, while at the same time providing a more efficient means of traffic management, thereby reducing congestion. SENTRI is a border management process that has allowed the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to vigorously enforce the law and swiftly accelerate the inspections of certain low risk, pre-enrolled crossers at ports of entry. The system identifies travelers who pose little risk to border security, verifies their low risk status through extensive record checks, and screens approved participants, and their vehicles, each and every time they enter 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 at El Paso (Stanton Street Bridge) and San Ysidro. 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; and Laredo, TX.

Wait Times With SENTRI
Participants in the program wait for much shorter periods of time than regular lanes to enter the United States, even at the busiest time of day. Critical information required in the inspection process is provided to the inspector in advance of the passenger's arrival thus reducing the inspection time from an average of 30-40 seconds to an average of 10 seconds. Upon reaching the booth, the driver stops, reaches out the window and swipes an electronically coded PortPass card through a magnetic stripe card reader. If both the inspector and the SENTRI electronic equipment approve, the traffic light turns green, the exit gate raises, the tire shredders retract, and the traveler can drive into the United States.

SENTRI Application Information:
The SENTRI Program requires all applicants to enroll in person at the SENTRI Enrollment Center. Enrollment is scheduled by appointment. To schedule your appointment, please call the Otay Mesa, CA SENTRI DCL Office at (619) 690-7600 Monday through Friday 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. The SENTRI DCL Enrollment Center for both Otay Mesa and San Ysidro located in:

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

Once an applicant is approved they are issued a Radio Frequency Identification Card (RFID) that will identify their record and status in the CBP database upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry. An RFID decal is also issued to the applicant’s vehicle. SENTRI users have access to specific, dedicated primary lanes into the United States.

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 by
1. The RFID cards contain a file number that is read upon arrival.
2. The file number triggers the participant’s data to be brought up on the CBP Officer’s screen.
3. The data is verified by the CBP Officer and the traveler is 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 (With RFID technology there is potential for tracking an individual’s movements, profiling an individual’s habits, and allowing for secondary uses of information).
Simultaneously, license plate readers and computers perform queries of the vehicles and their 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 their vehicles.

The Enrollment Process and SENTRI Enrollment Centers
The SENTRI program uses CBP Form 823S. SENTRI applicants will be applying for the Dedicated Commuter Lane Program. Please read the instructions carefully and fill out items 1-12 AND the section titled DEDICATED COMMUTER LANE PARTICIPANTS found on page 7 of CBP Form 823S SENTRI Application

Application Information
Applicants to the SENTRI Program may submit their application online using the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES). Once the application is certified as true and complete, it will be submitted to CBP for processing. Applicants can monitor the status of their application by logging back into GOES, and will be advised of "Conditional Approval", or "Denial" through the GOES account posting.

Step 1
To complete a SENTRI application via the Internet, click on the link to be transferred to the on-line application. Global Online Enrollment System

Step 2
Once notification of conditional approval is received, contact the nearest enrollment center listed on the notification to schedule an interview. Applicants have 180 days from that date to schedule an interview. Otherwise, applicants will be denied further enrollment consideration for failure to schedule an interview, which is the final requirement in determining program membership. This denial will not prevent an applicant from submitting a new application in the future. However, a new payment fee will be required. At the time of interview, payment of the application fee, fingerprint fee, lane fee, and any additional vehicle fee will be required.

Applicants must bring with them the following original documents to the interview. Please ensure you bring the exact documents you provided on the on-line application.
* Originals of evidence of citizenship that you listed on your application
* If not a U.S. citizen, originals of evidence of immigration admissibility to the U.S., that you listed on your application
* Valid drivers license (or state identification) issued in state where applicant lives
* Vehicle registration and evidence of US automobile insurance by a company authorized to write automobile insurance in the US.
* If the vehicle is not registered in the name of the applicant, a notarized letter authorizing its use by the applicant is required. A company vehicle requires written authorization on company letterhead.
* Evidence of employment or financial support. (For instance, most recent years tax return, pay receipt, or direct deposit salary statement. Self employed must present business license, current tax information and bank statement)
* Evidence of residence, (Mortgage or rent payment receipts)

During the Interview, information provided on the application will be verified and upon acceptance, CBP will:
* Take a photograph of applicant for identification card
* Take applicant’s fingerprint
* Provide terms and conditions of the program
* Answer any questions the applicant may have
* Issue an RFID enabled identification card

Visits to the enrollment centers will be by appointment only. To schedule your appointment, please call the nearest enrollment center

Otay Mesa
2500 Paseo Internacional
Otay Mesa, California 92143
(619) 690-7600
1699 East Carr Road
Calexico, CA 92231
(760) 768-2488
El Paso
797 S. Zaragoza Road, Bldg. A
El Paso, Texas 79907
(915) 872-3472
9 North Grand Avenue
Nogales, AZ 85621
(520) 375-5801
3300 South Expressway 77/83
Brownsville, TX 78520
(956) 983-5668
Lincoln/Juarez Bridge Adm Bldg. 2
Laredo, TX 78040
(956) 523-7399
6620 S. 33rd Street, Bldg. J, Suite 20
McAllen, TX 78503
(956) 618-1680

Required Fees
Application Fee: $25.00 per person (or a maximum of $50.00 total for husband, wife and minor children)
Fingerprint Fee: $24.00 (applicants 14 years and older)
System Costs Fee: $80.00 per person (or a maximum of $160.00 total for a husband, wife and minor children)
TOTAL FEE $129.00 per person

If an approved participant wishes to register more than one vehicle for use in the SENTRI DCL lane (maximum of 4 vehicles), or an approved participant wishes to be registered in more than one vehicle (maximum of 8 persons per vehicle), an additional fee of $42.00 per vehicle will be assessed. Enrollees will be charged a $25.00 replacement fee for a lost, stolen, or destroyed card and a $42.00 replacement fee for a lost, stolen or destroyed vehicle ID tag.
Payment of fees may be made by cash, check, money order, Master Card, VISA and American Express. A $30.00 charge is imposed if a check is not honored by the bank on which it was drawn. All fees are non-refundable.

Source - U.S. Customs and Border Protection