Trusted Traveler Programs such as NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST, CANPASS are designed to expedite border crossing between USA and Canada for low-risk frequent travelers and individuals, that are pre-screened and approved by appropriate governmental agencies.
Numerous travelers pass through US Customs on any given day. And it can be frustrating to wait in an extremely long line just to enter the country, especially if it’s your home. Time is valuable, after all. Fortunately, there are several ways you can spend less time waiting in lines and just breeze through Customs. The Department of Homeland Security has several Trusted Traveler programs that are overseen by the US Customs and Border Protection agency. These include Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST. Canada also has similar programs such as CANPASS and NEXUS. The purpose of these programs is to improve traveler experience, increase the system’s efficiency, and expedite travel for low-risk, pre-approved individuals.
So, what Trusted Traveler Programs mean?
To become a member of any of the programs, you will need to undergo a personal interview and an in-depth background check which includes looking into criminal history and customs violations as well as cross-checking your name with the terrorist watch lists.
A photograph and fingerprints will also be taken to get checked against the security databases of the FBI, Homeland Security, and the RCMP. Once you get approved for membership, you become a trusted traveler, able to travel through customs quickly and easily. Of course, you will be allowing the government to have your biographical and biometric data in their files.
This Trusted Traveler program enables fast processing for pre-approved travelers to enter the US and Canada at designated air, land, and marine ports of entry.
Global Entry is a US CBP program that allows for expedited clearance at customs for pre-screened travelers entering the United States.
The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program allows pre-authorized, low-risk carriers, importers, and drivers of commercial vehicles expedited clearance into the US, Canada, and Mexico.
The Canadian Passenger Accelerated Service System is a series of programs that allows expedited clearance for frequent, pre-screened, low-risk travelers entering Canada via air or marine ports of entry.
The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection is a program of the US CBP that expedites clearance for pre-screened, low-risk travelers entering the US from Mexico.
Some travel documents such as passports and enhanced driver’s licenses have a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that can be used for fast and smooth processing at land border crossings. The chip contains the traveler’s information which will be displayed on a computer monitor for the border officials to see. This minimizes the time a border official spends on gathering the information from travelers, shortening the overall processing time.