CBP announces temporary, expanded SENTRI office hours

LAREDO, TEXAS (CBP) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Laredo Port of Entry wants to advise travelers and the community to take advantage of this first-time, extended hours for Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) enrollment scheduled for weekdays and Saturdays. CBP will evaluate the public’s response and if warranted, will consider the possibility of revisiting this initiative.

The SENTRI Enrollment Office, located at Lincoln-Juarez Bridge, Administrative Bldg. #2 (adjacent to the SENTRI lane) Laredo, Texas is currently open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Those hours will extend to 7 p.m. on weekdays and the office will also open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Extended hours begin Aug 18, 2014, will continue until further notice and appointments for account updates are not necessary.

“The SENTRI lane provides a dedicated lane and expedited processing for known, low-risk travelers and is an ideal fit for those who cross the land border frequently,” said Joseph Misenhelter, Port Director, Laredo Port of Entry. “As we gear up for the rerouting of northbound vehicular traffic from Gateway to the Americas Bridge to Lincoln-Juarez Bridge starting in mid-January 2015, we encourage frequent border crossers to take advantage of these extended enrollment office hours and sign up for SENTRI today.”

The SENTRI Lane, which was inaugurated back in October 2006 at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge, was established to provide a dedicated lane to process low risk-travelers enrolled in the SENTRI program. This dedicated SENTRI lane in Laredo operates on a 24-hour basis and in order to use this lane, all passengers in the vehicle must present an approved RFID-enabled SENTRI card. The approaching passengers hold up their documents and that information is securely read and sent to the screen of the CBP officer at primary, facilitating and expediting the inspection process.

Travelers who use the SENTRI Lane will have the benefit of a shorter wait time versus using the general lanes of vehicle traffic because of the RFID technology and being a participant of the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP). The cost of the program is $122.25 and enrollment is valid for five years.

Applicants must voluntarily undergo a thorough biographical background check against law enforcement and terrorist watch list indices; a 10-fingerprint law enforcement check; and a personal interview with a CBP Officer.

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 and the fingerprint cost of $14.50 along with the processing fee of $82.75 will be collected at the time of the interview.

Another program within TTP is Global Entry, a CBP program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk air travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.

At airports, program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.

Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and interview before enrollment. Fee is $100, paid at time of application on the GOES website.

Lastly, CBP recommends and encourages all persons to acquire RFID-enabled entry/travel documents to assist us in facilitating everyone else’s inspection process.

These documents include: the U.S. passport card, SENTRI card, the new Legal Permanent Resident (green) card and the new border crossing card (BCC). We currently operate a Ready Lane for people with these type of documents and our goal is to ultimately have optimal utilization.

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