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About SENTRI

Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection

SENTRI provides expedited CBP processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Applicants must voluntarily undergo a thorough biographical 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:

  • 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 Document (RFID) that will identify their record and status in the CBP database upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry. 

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; Douglas, 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:

  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 (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 their 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 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. A $25 application fee will be charged at the time of application submission.

Step 1: To complete a SENTRI application via the Internet, click on the GOES link to be transferred to the online application.

Step 2: Once notification of conditional approval is received, you will be directed to schedule your appointment online through your GOES account.

Applicants have 30 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 fingerprint fee, lane fee, and any additional vehicle fee will be required. Applicants must bring the following original documents with them to the interview. Please ensure the exact documents you provided during the online application are those presented at the time of interview.

  • 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. Those self-employed must present a 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 purposes
  • Take applicant’s fingerprint
  • Provide terms and conditions of the program
  • Answer any questions the applicant may have
  • Issue an RFID enabled identification document

The Enrollment Process and SENTRI Enrollment Centers

Applicants who do not have access to a computer with an Internet connection, may complete the CBP SENTRI program application Form 823S. SENTRI applicants will also need to apply for Dedicated Commuter Lane (DCL) access. Please read the instructions for Form 823S carefully and fill out items 1-12 AND the section titled, “DEDICATED COMMUTER LANE PARTICIPANTS” found on page 7 of Form 823S.

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

Required Fees

Application Fee: $25.00 per person (or a maximum of $50.00 total for husband, wife and minor children)

Fingerprint Fee: $14.50 (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: $122.25 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 online, or by cash, check, money order, Master Card, VISA and American Express at the Local Enrollment Center. 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.