Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection
The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) provides expedited U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing, at the U.S.-Mexico border, of pre-approved travelers, considered low-risk. Voluntarily applicants must undergo a thorough background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration, and terrorist databases; a 10-fingerprint law enforcement check; and a personal interview with a CBP Officer. Total enrollment fee is $122.25 and is valid for 5 years.
Once the applicant is approved, they are issued a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card identifying their status in the CBP database when arriving at U.S. land and sea ports of entry (POE). SENTRI users have access to dedicated lanes into the United States. Unlike NEXUS, which is a joint program between United States and Canadian immigration authorities, SENTRI is solely a CBP program and only applies to customs and immigrations inspections into the United States, not into Mexico. SENTRI members are permitted to utilize NEXUS lanes when entering the United States from Canada by land (but not vice-versa).
The Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) allows registered users to enter their own SENTRI applications, and for approved members to edit their information. A valid SENTRI card is a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document.
SENTRI was conceived in 1995. A team of representatives from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), U.S. Customs Service, and five other Federal stakeholder agencies was formed and established a technical concept, engineering design and relevant policies. The first SENTRI lane was deployed at Otay Mesa, California, where the concept and design was refined. Additional technology tests, including in-vehicle biometrics and laneside facial recognition, were conducted at this site.
In 1998, it was decided to expand SENTRI to El Paso, Texas. The aim was to relieve congestion at the busy Paso del Norte bridge. However, this bridge was not wide enough to set aside one lane as a dedicated commuter lane. The nearby Stanton Street bridge, which had been a Southbound-only bridge, was chosen as the best place to deploy SENTRI. A new port of entry facility was built, and the SENTRI lane opened in September 1999.
Next, the SENTRI team set its sights on the busiest single border crossing in the world, San Ysidro, CA. The congested nature of Tijuana near the border crossing made it difficult to identify a place to put the dedicated lane, but with the cooperation of many organizations on both sides of the border, a lane was segregated, and SENTRI opened at San Ysidro in 2000, after which point the SENTRI team was disbanded and SENTRI became a program office within INS. After INS was sunsetted on March 1, 2003, the SENTRI program office was absorbed by DHS Customs and Border Protection.
Today, SENTRI Lanes can be found at the following ports of entry:
- Otay Mesa, California
- El Paso, Texas
- San Ysidro, California
- Calexico, California
- Nogales, Arizona
- Hidalgo, Texas
- Brownsville, Texas
- Anzalduas, Texas
- Laredo, Texas
- San Luis, Arizona
US Global Entry
US citizens may use their SENTRI membership at US Customs and Border Protection Global Entry kiosks located in participating US airports. Mexican nationals who are SENTRI members may apply for Global Entry after a risk assessment conducted by the Mexican government.
US citizens, who are SENTRI members (along with NEXUS and Global Entry members), may use TSA PreCheck on all participating airlines by entering their Customs and Border Protection ID number from their SENTRI card into their flight reservation information or into their frequent flyer account.
- Automatic vehicle identification
- United States Government Printing Office
- NEXUS (frequent traveler program)
- Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) - CBP.gov (11/01/2006)
- "Commuter Lane Opens on Bridge", El Paso Times, September 8, 1999, p.1
- SENTRI Enrollment Centers - CBP.gov (5/13/2009)