The Sentri Trusted Traveler Program – Application Requirements, Interview Process [& More]

SENTRI Crossing

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If you regularly visit international destinations, you’ve probably seen various options for frequent traveler entry programs.

Whatever your needs may be, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have implemented several trusted traveler programs aimed at speeding passengers through the airport and other port of entry lines faster and more efficiently.

SENTRI is the trusted traveler program for travelers entering the United States from Mexico. In this post, we’ll look at:

  • What SENTRI is
  • How to apply for SENTRI
  • What the interview process for SENTRI is like
  • How SENTRI works with other trusted traveler programs
  • How you can use SENTRI to expedite your entry into the United States


Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) is a program providing modified security screening processes for its pre-approved members. SENTRI also provides major improvements in overall security, because it makes screenings more efficient.

SENTRI program participants can enter the United States via dedicated primary lanes at certain Southern land border ports. In addition, SENTRI members are allowed to use the NEXUS lanes when they enter the U.S. from Canada by land, though this doesn’t work the other way around (such as into Canada).

Note that SENTRI differs from NEXUS because the latter is a joint program between Canadian and United States immigration authorities, whereas SENTRI is just a CBP program. This means SENTRI only applies to customs and immigration inspections coming into the United States, not into Canada or Mexico.

When you use the SENTRI lanes, you receive expedited processing back into the United States when crossing the border. Image Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The History of SENTRI

SENTRI was established in 1995 by representatives from the U.S. Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and 5 additional federal stakeholder agencies. The program was specifically designed to provide expedited U.S. CBP processing for pre-approved low-risk travelers.

The very first SENTRI lane was in Otay Mesa, California, and it was there that the design and concept were refined. More technology tests were conducted there, including lane-side facial recognition and in-vehicle biometrics.

SENTRI is one of 5 Trusted Traveler Programs, with 4 designed for both personal and business travelers:

The other program, called FAST, was started for the purpose of accommodating commercial trucking companies only. All programs (other than TSA PreCheck) are governed by the U.S. CBP; TSA PreCheck falls under the Transportation Security Administration’s purview.

At one time (back in the ’90s), the CBP Global Entry program was actually called INSPASS. After the CBP and INS merged, the current program took its place. Now, as many as 2 million individual travelers are enrolled and an estimated 50,000 new applications are submitted monthly.

Hot Tip: Enrollment in SENTRI includes both Global Entry and PreCheck, giving you the benefit of 3 major Trusted Traveler Programs.

How Does the SENTRI Program Work?

When you drive into the United States from Mexico, you’ll pass through a SENTRI lane, have your credentials scanned, and be allowed to enter within a few minutes.

In addition, SENTRI members can enter a PASS ID membership number into the known traveler number field when booking reservations. You can also enter it on your frequent flyer profile with any airline.

Your membership number is basically giving TSA’s Secure Flight System the necessary data for proceeding with Trusted Traveler verification. This is the same system that processes whether or not you receive TSA PreCheck on any domestic flight, and the information is also tied to your passport and processing documents.

Using a trusted traveler program is the best way to avoid lines when crossing the border. When you are approved for SENTRI, you also receive Global Entry membership. Image Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The Benefits of SENTRI

The many SENTRI Pass benefits include:

  • Expedited border crossings: When you drive into the U.S. from Mexico, for example, you’ll simply visit an automated machine to process your admittance. You don’t have to speak with a customs officer unless you need a secondary inspection.
  • Reduced airport screening/wait times: SENTRI comes with Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.
    • Global Entry allows expedited processing into the U.S. when you fly from an international destination.
    • PreCheck is expedited screening when flying out of an eligible U.S. airport (you can keep your shoes on and your electronics in your bag); see more details below.
  • No need to fill out customs paperwork: When arriving into the U.S., you won’t need to fill out any forms by hand. The kiosk system will ask a few common-sense-type questions, so you won’t need to actually use a pen and paper for anything.
  • TSA PreCheck Eligibility:
    • Skip most of the long airport lines — especially important if you’re at a busy domestic airport or tend to run late for flights.
    • Keep your belt and shoes on at airport security.
    • Keep your laptop and liquids in their bags.
  • Additional country eligibility: SENTRI Pass is available in a variety of countries including the U.S., UK, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Taiwan, Panama, and Mexico — members can enjoy expedited processing in these countries also.

Hot Tip: Having SENTRI doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never speak to a border officer, though on most occasions you’ll be allowed through with very minimal human interaction.

About SENTRI Biometrics

In trusted traveler programs, using biometrics can create a travel experience that is more seamless for all parties involved. In creating the SENTRI program, it was discovered that facial image recognition technology was the simplest system for CBP officers and travelers alike.

Biometric technology is hassle-free and highly intuitive, which means a traveler’s identity matches can be made quickly and accurately. You’ll sometimes find this same technology when boarding an aircraft; all you have to do is stand in front of the camera to have your photo taken. That picture is then matched to the photo you provided with your passport application. Once the photo is verified, you can board your flight.

Bottom Line: The same biometric technology that’s used to help you board flights quickly has been applied to trusted traveler programs such as SENTRI to create a seamless experience.

About SENTRI Eligibility

When using SENTRI, your travel companions (e.g., family members, business associates, etc.) can only accompany you in the SENTRI line if they have their own SENTRI Pass. However, if you’re flying, TSA PreCheck allows children under 12 to accompany their SENTRI-enrolled parents.

SENTRI Pass membership application is open to:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Lawful permanent U.S. residents
  • Canadian citizens
  • Dutch citizens
  • German citizens
  • Mexican nationals
  • Qatari citizens
  • South Korean citizens
  • UK citizens

In addition, Canadian citizens/residents who are already NEXUS program members are automatically entitled to all of the SENTRI Pass program benefits, too.

Minors under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian’s consent to participate in the program.

Applicants must voluntarily submit to a thorough background check against a number of databases, including all of the following:

  1. A criminal database
  2. A CBP database
  3. An immigration database
  4. A law enforcement database
  5. A terrorist database

Applicants must also undergo:

  • A 10-fingerprint check with law enforcement
  • A personal interview with a CBP Officer

Hot Tip: Do not hide any previous criminal history in your SENTRI application or you may be denied approval. The customs officials looking at your application will uncover these details whether you share them or not, so it is best to be honest.

SENTRI Crossing
Usually, the SENTRI lanes will make it very quick to cross the border, since most travelers do not have a trusted traveler program membership. On most days, you can expect to wait only a few minutes. Image Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

SENTRI Restrictions & Ineligibility

You may not be eligible for SENTRI if you:

  1. Enter false or incomplete information on your application
  2. Have been convicted of any criminal offense, have criminal charges pending, or have any outstanding warrants (including a DUI)
  3. Have violated agriculture, immigration, or customs laws/regulations in any country worldwide
  4. Are the subject of ongoing investigation(s) by any local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies
  5. Are not admissible to the U.S. under an immigration regulation (including applicants with either approved waiver of inadmissibility or parole documentation)
  6. Are not able to satisfy authorities regarding your low-risk status

Hot Tip: Being convicted of a crime doesn’t necessarily mean you are ineligible to apply for a SENTRI card. It just means your chances of being approved are somewhat lower.

How to Apply for a SENTRI Pass

Before applying, you should ensure that you’re eligible for SENTRI by following these steps in the application process:

  1.  Create a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) System account. Whatever your age, you need to have your own TTP account, as this is the vehicle for creating a SENTRI card.
  2. Log in to your TTP account and complete the application.
  3. Pay the non-refundable fee, which is required with every completed application.
  4. After acceptance of your completed application and the fee, CBP reviews your application.
  5. If your application is approved (conditionally), your TTP account will give you instructions for scheduling an interview at a SENTRI Enrollment Center.
  6. Be sure to bring your valid passport(s) and 1 other form of identification, (e.g., ID card or driver’s license) to your interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you will need to present your permanent resident card. Other requirements include vehicle registration plus evidence of U.S. auto insurance.

One person can fill out multiple applications, meaning a family member could fill them out for their entire family. When applying online, you will need to submit separate applications for each family member by filling out every section.

Hot Tip: There is no such thing as a whole family application for SENTRI — each family member will have to submit separate application forms, since CBP needs a separate background and security check on each individual.

The entire process can take between 2-6 months, depending upon the application and interview backlog. Your initial application only requires around 20-30 minutes, but conditional application approval could take up to 6 weeks, and the interview booking time period could be weeks or months.

SENTRI passes are valid for 5 years from the issue date before they must be renewed.

Application Delays

The CBP advises that you may experience delays in the processing of your application, in part due to limited manpower and processing ability of the Trusted Traveler Program partners. This may also extend into limited appointment availabilities at some TTP sites.

Where to Apply for SENTRI

Enrollment centers and SENTRI lanes can currently be found at these ports of entry, primarily located along the border:


  • Douglas
  • Nogales
  • San Luis


  • Calexico
  • Otay Mesa
  • San Ysidro


  • Anzalduas
  • Brownsville
  • El Paso
  • Hidalgo
  • Laredo
  • Pharr
SENTRI US Border Crossing
SENTRI lanes are located at several popular crossing points between the U.S. and Mexico. Image Credit: Eagle Pass Business Journal

What Is the SENTRI Interview Like?

To get SENTRI, you must present yourself for an interview in front of a CBP officer.

This interview is fairly painless; you don’t need to dress in your Sunday best, though you should appear presentable. The interview process won’t last more than a few minutes, and you’ll be asked several questions along with having your fingerprints taken.

Here are some typical questions you can expect to be asked throughout the process:

  • Why do you want a SENTRI card? Explain your reasons for wanting the card, and why you are applying for this card vs. other trusted traveler programs. If you conduct a lot of business between Mexico and the U.S., you should state this and say why the program is important for you.
  • Have you had any previous incidents at the border? If you’ve been stopped, questioned or searched before, it’s important for the interviewing officer to know. Essentially, they want to know what the issue was to determine whether you pose a risk.
  • What countries have you visited in the last few years? This is asked to see whether you’ve visited any “at risk” countries, or those with a previous history of drug smuggling or terrorism, for example. If you have, it doesn’t completely exclude you from receiving SENTRI; it simply creates a bigger picture for the agents to interpret.
  • What do you do for work? You don’t need to go into full detail, but the officer will be looking to see what you do for a living and how you support yourself to help rule out the possibility you’d be using SENTRI for any illicit reasons.
  • Have you had previous criminal convictions? Just because you have a previous history of crime doesn’t mean you won’t receive a card. Generally, crimes further in the past are looked upon more favorably than crimes that are recent, though many crimes do carry an automatic disqualification (such as many felonies). Just be honest about your past — if there’s something questionable, they will find out what it is, so it is much better for you to be forthcoming.
  • Do you have any business relationships or transactions on either side of the border? If you work for a particular company that transports goods, you should state that, as this will allow the interviewing officer to further understand why you want a SENTRI membership.

Hot Tip: The interview process usually takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. You will have your picture taken, so make sure to dress in something that you want to represent you for the next 5 years!

U.S. Global Entry

U.S. citizens can utilize their SENTRI memberships at Global Entry kiosks in participating U.S. airports. SENTRI members who are Mexican nationals can apply for Global Entry once they have passed a risk assessment check that is conducted by the Mexican government.

Global Entry members are allowed to use kiosks in select international arrivals airports for expedited processing. Instead of filling out a customs declaration form, members answer a few questions on a kiosk and then move forward with presentation to an officer, usually just by handing over a verification slip that prints from the machine.

Global Entry Kiosks
When you apply for SENTRI, you automatically receive a Global Entry membership, which is good for expedited processing when you fly in from an international destination. Image Credit: James Tourtellotte via CBP

Verification & Updates for Vehicle License Plate Info

When you drive through a port of entry, your vehicle may be searched — but if you register your vehicle, you may not have to be searched and can proceed through the entry more quickly.

SENTRI members who currently own SENTRI-registered vehicles should check whose membership the vehicle they’re driving is enrolled under, to ensure the appropriate family member is verified and has updated the vehicle’s license plate information. (In other words, you should be driving the SENTRI vehicle you have registered, not someone else’s.)

If you have a vehicle that is already registered under the name of one particular immediate family member in the SENTRI program, then you don’t need to re-register that vehicle in your name.

To avoid processing delays, though, you must verify and update your vehicle license plate info when it changes. Any SENTRI member who doesn’t update their license plate information could see delays while CBP officers attempt to verify their license plate information.

If your vehicle’s windshield has been damaged, you will need a new SENTRI tag (which is placed in the windshield upon approval so it can be seen as you enter the border checkpoint). You can get one by calling one of the Enrollment Centers, reporting the damage, and applying for a new SENTRI tag.


Once you have been approved for participation in the SENTRI program, you’ll receive an RFID card for use at any/all designated SENTRI air, land, and marine ports of entry. Your SENTRI membership card is considered to be a valid travel document, and it can be utilized in place of your passport under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).

Remember that SENTRI conforms with the Global Entry program for expedited immigration and customs clearance, as well as TSA PreCheck for faster airport security checks.

Your SENTRI card should be carried with you when you cross the border. Image Credit: Global Trusted Traveler

Activating Your SENTRI Card

Once you receive your card, you must activate it. Begin by logging into your TTP account, and then click on the “Activate Membership Card” button in the Program Membership section to activate your card once you receive it.

Card Updates

You need to update all of your contact info and any changes to your documentation (e.g., a new passport, driver’s license, permanent resident card, etc.) as they occur. If you are convicted of a crime (with the exception of traffic violations), you must inform SENTRI by calling an Enrollment Center.

In addition, you should keep SENTRI updated regarding any new passport details by calling one of the Enrollment Centers if anything changes. If you lose your SENTRI card, you can get a new one for a small fee simply by calling one of the Enrollment Centers to report the loss. Do not apply for a new card via the SENTRI application, as it will cancel your program membership.

How Much Time You Can Save

SENTRI members are screened faster than non-SENTRI members both at airports and borders (under a combination of SENTRI and Global Entry use, since the membership comes with both). In fact, one recent study showed that your SENTRI pass could easily pay for itself in 2 round-trips based on the amount of time saved overall.

This particular conclusion was reached by monetizing the time spent waiting in line, and then figuring in the fuel and carbon emissions from an idling engine. The institute then compared how much time was spent in the SENTRI lines vs. the amount of time spent in the non-SENTRI lines.

Bottom Line: In the end, the study concluded that SENTRI lane users saved around $28.10 (in monetized time) for each round-trip.

SENTRI Pedestrian Lane
SENTRI cardholders can also use pedestrian lanes at select border crossings. Image Credit: El Paso Times

SENTRI Cost Information

How Much Does SENTRI Cost?

The SENTRI nonrefundable enrollment and application fee is $122.25, and your SENTRI status will be valid for 5 years.

Most major premium credit cards do not cover SENTRI enrollment, but they do cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You will need to decide whether enrolling in Global Entry using your credit card reimbursement is better, or if you should pay the separate SENTRI cost.

Hot Tip: If you frequently travel from Mexico into the U.S., you will likely find so much additional value in SENTRI that it is worth paying the separate fee.

Other fees

If you lose your card and need a replacement, there will be a $25 fee. If you lose a transponder (mounted in your vehicle to assist with entry via a vehicle lane into the U.S.), there will be a replacement fee of $42.

Additional fees will apply when enrolling multiple vehicles in the program (up to a maximum of 4 vehicles). These fees will apply toward a 2-year enrollment in the SENTRI program.

Bottom Line: There isn’t a major premium credit card that covers SENTRI fees, but there are cards that cover Global Entry and PreCheck — so you’ll need to decide which is more valuable for you and which fees you may want to pay.

Traveling With Children & Pets

No matter the age of a child, if you want them to be traveling with you when you use the SENTRI lane, they need to have a SENTRI pass. If you travel by car, all occupants of the vehicle have to be SENTRI pass holders if you are using the SENTRI lane.

You can only use SENTRI at airports (via Global Entry) if you have your SENTRI or Global Entry card. You are required to fill out a separate application form for each child, and they must attend your SENTRI interview with you.

Domestic pets are allowed to be transported through the dedicated SENTRI lanes at both land border crossings and SENTRI kiosks. Birds and any other prohibited animals will not be allowed in any SENTRI lanes.

Pets that are allowed will need to have a valid rabies vaccination certificate, which is dated and signed by their licensed veterinarian. The certificate must:

  • Clearly identify the animal by age, breed, coloring, and sex, along with any distinguishing marks
  • Include the expiration date, name, and serial number of the vaccine
  • Show the (unexpired) vaccination period of validity

Other important pet travel facts:

  1. Pet tags are not accepted in lieu of the above certificates.
  2. Kittens and puppies under the age of 3 months don’t have to have rabies vaccination certificates. Proof of age is highly recommended.
  3. Animals used for commercial purposes (i.e., racehorses or breeding animals) are considered commercial importations and will not be allowed in SENTRI lanes.

Hot Tip: Humans must also be aware of vaccinations that they may need when traveling! See our complete guide on Travel Vaccinations and Travel Health for all the details. 

Items Permitted in SENTRI Lanes

Some personal items are permitted in the SENTRI lanes, including:

  • Alcohol: An amount within the member’s personal entitlement. If you are over this amount, you must declare it.
  • Duty-paid tobacco products: If you are over the personal entitlement amount, you must declare it.
  • Gifts worth $100 or more when entering the U.S.
  • A reasonable amount of personal effects.

Food is allowed across the border, but it should be declared, even if you think it is nothing important. Something “harmless” like an apple could be cause for removal from any trusted traveler program if it is not declared properly — when in doubt, always declare.

When you cross from Mexico into the U.S., make sure you declare any and all items you are bringing with you. Image Credit: My Herald

About the National Vetting Center

The National Vetting Center (NVC) is an interagency collaborative that helps provide a clearer picture of homeland security, border security, and national security, as well as any public safety threat that might be perpetrated by someone transiting U.S. borders.

The SENTRI program gets information about its participants from the National Vetting Center, which is important to know — it means the program is always aware of new information about members, even if you don’t openly disclose it (such as crimes).

The NVC is also responsible for simplifying, strengthening, and streamlining all of the very complex information and methods utilized by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies when making critical operational decisions.

TSA PreCheck

If you are a U.S. citizen who has become a SENTRI member, then you also have the privilege of using TSA PreCheck on any/all participating airlines. Simply enter your Known Traveler Number or CBP ID number from your SENTRI card into your flight reservation information or your frequent flyer account.

About TSA PreCheck

Members of TSA PreCheck have many benefits. For instance, passengers at PreCheck security checkpoints are not required to remove some items of clothing (e.g., shoes, belts, or lightweight outerwear), and usually only pass through a metal detector instead of a full body scanner. In addition, passengers can leave liquids and/or laptops inside their carry-on luggage.

All eligible travelers’ Trusted Traveler information will be embedded in their boarding pass barcode, which lets the TSA know whether you’re eligible to use the PreCheck lanes. However, it’s worth noting that even TSA PreCheck-approved travelers are subject to random searches and/or security screenings.

TSA PreCheck has now been expanded to include non-U.S. airlines. Since launching in October 2011, it has been made available to many elite members of participating airlines’ frequent flyer programs, as well as members of CBP Trusted Traveler Programs (including SENTRI), who are U.S. citizens flying on the participating airlines.

These are just some of the North America-based airlines currently participating in the TSA PreCheck program:

  1. Air Canada
  2. Alaska Airlines
  3. American Airlines
  4. Delta Air Lines
  5. Hawaiian Airlines
  6. JetBlue Airways
  7. Southwest Airlines
  8. United Airlines

The TSA also claims to be consistently working to enroll other airlines in the program.

In addition, members of the military on active duty are eligible to use PreCheck. If you are a SENTRI program member, you automatically have membership in TSA PreCheck. In fact, all individuals who are cleared to enroll in any of CBP’s eligible Trusted Traveler Programs (including SENTRI) are automatically qualified for participation in TSA PreCheck when flying on participating airlines at any participating airport.

Final Thoughts

If you’re one of the many people who frequently travel internationally, then you know exactly how difficult and time-consuming going through customs can be. That’s why programs like SENTRI were created — to provide fast and easy pre-approved clearance for travelers who are low-risk.

SENTRI can help lower your stress level, save you time, and simplify your travel by allowing you to speed past those long customs entry lines and arrive at your destination much faster. If you travel frequently from Mexico into the United States, the SENTRI program is definitely for you.

Frequently asked questions

What is SENTRI?

SENTRI is a Trusted Traveler Program that allows expedited access back into the United States from Mexico. It also includes Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, which allow expedited processing back into the U.S. from any foreign nation, and expedited security processing at U.S. airports, respectively.

What does it cost to get SENTRI?

It costs approximately $83 to get SENTRI, which is also includes Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. The fee cannot be covered by any premium credit card benefits.

Is Global Entry the same as SENTRI?

SENTRI includes Global Entry, but is not directly the same. SENTRI allows expedited access into the U.S. via land border crossings from Mexico. Because SENTRI users undergo a thorough background check, they are also given Global Entry and TSA PreCheck benefits (though it is worth noting that Global Entry members don’t automatically get SENTRI).

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  1. Stephen Lawhead October 1, 2019

    I’ve lost my Sentri Pass. How do I apply for a new one?


    • Hi Stephen, you can request a new Sentri Pass card by logging into your TTP account and selecting Manage Membership. A replacement card will cost $25. Thanks!


    • Sergio Porras April 15, 2020

      Did you have any trouble replacing your Sentri pass?


  2. Phyllis Klosterman October 25, 2019

    My husband and I both applies for Senti cards in March. I received mine in May. His has been held up for over 6 months now. Who can I contact to inquire about this? I was told it was because of the govt. shutdown last year. But surely 6 mo is a long enough time. And I don’t believe we can re-enter his application. Do you have any help for us?


  3. Blanca Davila November 21, 2019

    I would like to know where can I start to fill out the application.


  4. My wife and I are considering buying a place in San Felipe for winter. I have a severely retarded brother that we have cared for, for over 30 years. He is 72 and doesn’t talk at all, would that be a problem to get a Sentri card for him? Or even crossing the border?


  5. Larry Norman December 14, 2019

    I have had my Sentri Card for about nine years and own my home free and clear .

    My only residence is in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. Due to a major sinkhole cave in, I had to borrow $12,000 to install a stand-alone Solar Panal system to regain power.

    Folwing a stoke on July 12th, I have built up some medical bills of totaling $20,000. It has been recommended that I consider taking bankruptcy in order to return to a monthly budget I can afford on my Social Security income.

    If I were to take bankruptcy, would I lose my Senri Card?


    • Hi Larry,

      Unfortunately, Sentri does not publish any information on their website on how bankruptcy would affect your enrollment in the program. I’d recommend you contact your local enrollment office and see what they suggest!

      Best of luck!


  6. Marlon Escobar December 27, 2019

    Hello! Does the price include multiple people or just one? I have my wife, two girls and myself. What is the price for all of us?


    • Hi Marlon,

      The price is per person. So it would cost $489 for 4 people.

      Thanks for reading!


    • Hi Marlon, you didn’t mention how old your two girls are, so there are a few answers here. Broken down, the application fee will come to $50 total for your family. A fingerprinting fee for anyone older than 14 is $14.50/person. The system cost fee will be charged at the maximum for a family at $165.50. More information can be found on the CBP website.

      If you don’t need to get your girls fingerprinted, the cost would be $244.50 and if you did need to get them fingerprinted, it would cost $273.50. Hope this helps!


  7. Daniela Fernanda Gonzalez January 2, 2020

    Does the proof of address need to be on the name of the applicant?
    What if I live with my mom?
    My two babies don’t have a passport. Do I need to apply for a passport for them and then the sentri?

    My husband and I have passports but they don’t.

    Thank you


    • Hi Daniela, if you reference the section titled “How to Apply for a SENTRI Pass”, we note that every person applying for SENTRI will need their own passport. This means that first, you will need to obtain passports for both of your babies in order to apply on their behalf.

      In terms of proof of address, it is always best to contact SENTRI directly to see what is considered acceptable as we are not associated with them. You should start with your local SENTRI enrollment center for this:


      • Hi there.
        Can my son go to school in san diego while living in tijuana, and go back and forth thru the sentri lane every day?


        • Hi Mike – yes, the SENTRI lanes are used for people frequently crossing the border. I will say that I’ve seen reports that wait times (even with SENTRI) can exceed 30 minutes, so this would have to be something that was factored into his decision. Best of luck!


  8. Stacy L Coleman January 12, 2020

    If I have an assault felony conviction from 1996 will it disqualify me?


    • Hi Stacy,

      We do not have any affiliation with Sentri or the USCBP, so I cannot say as to whether that would disqualify you or not. I’d recommend you give your local enrollment office as call and see what their thoughts on the matter are.

      Thanks for reading!


  9. I want to reapply for SENTRI as I was denied 14 years ago. The application is asking for my previous passid number and I do not have it as its been too many years. What do I do the application? It won’t let me proceed?


    • Hi Martha, if you haven’t been a member of Global Entry or SENTRI in the past, you will not have a PassID. It’s hard to know for certain why you’re not being allowed to proceed with your application, but we would suggest leaving that field empty.

      If you continue to have problems, we would recommend reaching out to your local enrollment center for further assistance.


  10. I’ve registered for Global Entry and Sentri and have my interview next week. Do I need to drive the vehicle I’ve registered on the application to the interview? Will they need to inspect it? Or is it enough to bring proof of insurance and registration with me?


  11. Hi authors, thanks for composing this article. SENTRI website shows I’m eligible to apply for SENTRI as an Indian citizen (Non-US citizen and don’t have a green card, but have a valid US Visa). Can I get a physical SENTRI card if I get approved for SENTRI? Also, do I get TSA Pre check membership if I’m a non US Citizen/non-permanent resident, but have a valid US visa? Thanks


    • Hi AN, yes, you will get a physical SENTRI card once you are approved.

      TSA PreCheck is a different program that you will have to fill out a separate application for, but per the Department of Homeland Security’s website, “program membership is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents.” You didn’t mention if you were living in the US permanently, but if you are, you are also eligible for this program. Check out our guide to TSA PreCheck to get more information on how to apply for this as well.


  12. I have my Sentri interview scheduled. My two small children just got conditionally approved as well. Do I need to schedule separate interviews for them? The website says each applicant has to have their own interview. Seems silly for very young children. Also wouldn’t their cards have to be linked to my own?


    • Hi Liz, per the U.S. Customs and Border Control website, “Regardless of your age, you must…schedule an interview at a SENTRI Enrollment Center. If you are under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must be present.”

      Since this is the case, you might like to easier to reschedule your interview in order to get all the interviews done at the same time? They do note that families can be interviewed together. If you have any other questions, you can always contact your local enrollment center as well. Hope this helps!


      • Gerardo Vasquez October 19, 2020

        Hello I have an appointment for my daughter (she is 11 years old) but due the pandemic situation only 1 parent can cross the border, I would like to be in the appointment as well so both parents (me and my wife) can join for my daughter’s interview for Sentri renewal.

        Does a Sentri interview is consider as essential travel to cross the border? or can my daughter go to the interview just with her mother?


        • Hi Gerardo, per the Customs and Border Protection website “CBP reminds all travelers that crossing a U.S. land border for the purpose of visiting a Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment center is non-essential travel.”

          As we aren’t associated with the CBP, we recommend contacting the office where your daughter’s interview is to explain your situation directly. Thanks for reading!


          • I applied for Sentri in July of 2020, and my Sentri application is pending still. Do you have any idea how long it will take? Any steps I can take as well or should I wait it out?

          • Hi Susette,

            Unfortunately, when it comes to these application programs, the CBP doesn’t give us much recourse other than to wait it out. According to this page on the CBP website, they claim Sentri approvals can take up to 12 months.

  13. Laiza Contreras January 27, 2020

    Hello, help!!!
    My card got stolen in Tijuana. When I crossed the border they gave me a FIRST warning but they let me in. My card is about to expire in March. The renew is in progress they gave me an extension till 2021.

    Question: which is better
    1- Cancel the renew and request/paid to get a replacement card? and lose the money paid to renewed.
    2- wait till my application get approved if I’m lucky. I won’t be able to cross till then.

    Thanks sooo much!!!!


    • Hi Laiza, if your card was stolen, per the Customs and Border Protection office, you should report it. “You can request a replacement card by logging into your TTP account and selecting Manage Membership. Next select Request for Global Entry Card. A $25 fee is charged for the replacement card. By requesting the replacement card, the original card will be deactivated and no longer functional.”

      If you have an extension in place until 2021, we would suggest applying for a new card now and using the replacement card in the meantime.

      Hope this helps!


  14. Arnel Reyes February 4, 2020

    I have already have Global Entry Card (last year) and recently received my letter of approval for the SENTRI card. Will I get another card (for SENTRI) in the mail or do I have to make an appointment to get my card?


    • Hi Arnel, I can’t be sure, but I believe what you received was a conditional approval letter. You must still schedule an in-person interview at your nearest enrollment center. After this interview, you will be mailed another SENTRI card – you cannot use your Global Entry card in the SENTRI lanes.


  15. Diego Rivera February 17, 2020

    What is considered personal entitlement when crossing alcohol thru the SENTRI Lane?


    • Hi Diego,

      Generally, one liter of alcohol per person may be entered into the U.S. duty-free by travelers who are 21 or older, although travelers coming from the U.S. Virgin Islands or other Caribbean countries are entitled to 5 liters.


  16. I have tried to use the SENTRI lane with at multiple border crossings between Mexico and Texas (Laredo, Brownsville, and McAllen). However, on the Mexico side, they have always stopped me from getting into the SENTRI lane because I have not enrolled in their “Express Lane”. Is their program also a requirement to use the SENTRI lane at vehicle crossing locations? Looking for any help on this as I have more trips planned and hate that I paid for SENTRI but cannot use it.


    • Hi Lee, I did a bit of research on this and I can’t quite see any difference between the SENTRI lanes and what they are describing as an “express lane.” My suggestion for next time would be to perhaps show your SENTRI card to any staff person there that way they are aware of your eligibility and can direct you into the correct lane.


  17. I was denied Sentri in the past (8 years ago), during the interview process for not remembering an incident that happened in 2001. I am considering re-applying and heard that Global Entry is a bit more lenient. Any thoughts on this or I’m I just banned from it?


    • Hi S. Martinez,

      I cannot say as to whether or not you’re banned from the program, as we do not represent the U.S. CBP. I recommend you reach out to your local enrollment office for assistance with this.

      Thanks for reading!


      • What about Global Entry, is it the same process or more lenient?


        • Hi S. Martinez,

          I don’t believe one process is more strict than the other. Both involve submitting an application and going through an interview process.


      • Thanks, I actually drove back to Mexico last week, and stopped at the CBP station before crossing. CBP confirmed that the express lane is a requirement. As SENTRI is not a joint program with Mexico, Mexico has chosen to implement their own restrictions on accessing the SENTRI lanes. I mentioned to CBP that there is no mention of this during the application process, and they said it’s because CBP does not have control over any restrictions Mexico implements.

        So unless you also get the approximately $250 Express Lane sticker through the Mexican government, you will be unable to use the SENTRI lanes when crossing back into the US by vehicle as you will be unable to enter the SENTRI lanes from the Mexico side.


        • Hi Lee,

          Wow! This is good information to know. Thank you for sharing this experience with the community.


        • Zeke Rabkin June 8, 2020

          There are no SENTRI lanes for entering Mexico. SENTRI is only for entering the US.


        • Hi,
          So besides the sentries fee we also have to pay an additional $250.00?


        • Larry O Myshyniuk September 13, 2020

          I cross 2 to 5 times a week. I have a house and business in Tijuana. I don’t even know where this express lane you are talking about is located? I have never had a problem crossing, as long as you know where the lanes are. There are (today is 9/13/2020) NO restrictions where and how you must go, to access the SENTRI lanes, and none that I know of planned for the future. Not sure where you got this information.


    • After waiting a year to get conditionally approved, last Monday I had my interview. But they couldn’t make a desition yet. Is this normal? How long could this take after having an interview? Status still in conditionally approved.


  18. Hi. I applied to renew my SENTRI a few months ago, still waiting for that…
    Now I need to remove the car registered with my account but I don’t have the option to manage vehicles in my dashboard.
    what can I do?


  19. I applied for a Sentri card in July of 2019, 8 months ago and I am still waiting for the conditional approval to get an interview. Two co-workers of mine applied a month ago and both of them are already scheduled for interviews. I went down to the enrollment center and all they could tell me is my application is pending approval. I think my application got lost somewhere. Should I re-apply?


    • Hi Tim, if you confirmed that your application is pending approval at the enrollment center and you can see your application through your Trusted Traveler Profile online, it isn’t lost. Per the DHS FAQ’s SENTRI can take up to 12 months to process, so it sounds like your coworkers got lucky!

      They also advise against submitting a new application as “you will be liable for any additional fees incurred per the non-refundable terms and conditions you agree to prior to making payment.”

      Our best advice is to just keep waiting, sorry Tim!


  20. Can you take a copy of a birth certificate for your interview?


    • Hi CDL,

      Are you wondering if you can bring a copy of your birth certificate as your second form of ID? If so, I do not believe that would be permitted as you need to have two forms of photo ID (e.g. a Passport and Driver’s License).


  21. Will I be disqualified for a SENTRI pass if I have been in a car with someone who had to go to secondary inspection on multiple occasions. For trying to cross produce, meat etc. Never got a fine only got the things taken away.


  22. Do we need to have a car to apply for SENTRI? I don’t have a car or a drivers license. Will that be a problem? I usually walk across.


    • Hi Jazmin, if you don’t have a car, we would recommend applying for Global Entry instead of Sentri. The main benefit that Sentri provides is the ability to add a vehicle. You can still use Global Entry to walk across in the expedited lanes, the processing time is typically a bit quicker, and it’s a bit cheaper as well. There are other valid forms of ID to apply for these cards – a driver’s license is not the only option. Hope this helps!


    • Larry O Myshyniuk September 13, 2020

      Jazmin, having the Sentri Pass is not just a little quicker. It’s a LOT quicker. You go to the FRONT of the line in most cases. And later when you get a car, you will just have to add your vehicle, instead of a new application.


  23. Hello! I accidentally removed the wrong car from Sentri. 🥺 Now I have repaid fees and added the car again. Can anyone give me an estimated time of appoval?


    • Hi Yadi,

      The entire process can take between 2-6 months, depending upon the application and interview backlog.


    • Larry O Myshyniuk September 13, 2020

      Depending on the work load for sentri. They have been processing vehicles in under 30 days, over the last six months. This has been my experience.


  24. Mrs. Gallardo June 16, 2020

    I found somebody’s sentri card at the airport. It was placed in my bag most likely by a baggage handler. How do I get it to them?


    • Hi Mrs. Gallardo,

      There is really no way to do so as there shouldn’t be any contact information on the card besides the persons name. I recommend that you contact the US CBP and let them know that you found someone else’s card and they should have instructions for what to do with it.

      Thanks for reading!


  25. I am a Sentri member. I finally got my US Citizenship. Can I take my Certification of Naturalization to change my citizenship or I need to wait to have a US passport to change it? And I have a doubt, can I use the Sentri Card without the citizenship being changed.


    • Hi Maria,

      Congratulations on gaining your US Citizenship! Unfortunately, there does not appear to be much guidance regarding your issue online. I recommend you contact the Customs and Border Protection customer service team at 1-(877)-227-5511 for an exact answer to your question.

      Thanks for reading!


  26. Hi,
    I was reading the most mayor credit cards dont credit you for sentri. If I apply for global entry first and then sentri will I only be charged a small fee or the entire fee for sentri?


    • Hi Sylvia,

      If you register your vehicle in SENTRI as part of your initial Global Entry application, there is no fee. If you wish to register your vehicle after your initial application, you must pay a $42 registration fee for a CBP vehicle inspection at a SENTRI enrollment center.

      Thanks for reading!


  27. I cross often but I cross maybe 3 to 5 times a year with my grandkids do I still have to apply for sentri cards for them?


    • Hi Rose,

      Yes, according to CBP, “Regardless of your age, you must create a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) System account, pay a non-refundable application fee, and schedule an interview at a SENTRI Enrollment Center. If you are under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must be present.”

      So your grandchildren would need to apply for Sentri cards. Thanks for reading!


  28. When Applying for Sentri, would it affect the application process if the individual applying is on Welfare in any State of the United States?


  29. Larry O Myshyniuk September 13, 2020

    Can I cross in the Sentri lane with a PHOTOCOPY of the cars registration?


  30. After waiting a year to get conditionally approved, 2 weeks ago I had my interview. But they couldn’t make a decision yet. Is this normal? How long could this take after having an interview? No answer at all, status still conditionally approved.


    • Hi Mike,

      As we are not affiliated with Sentri or the US CBP, I cannot say definitely how long it might take. I would say that it is a bit unusual to not have a result back 2 weeks after your interview – but I know COVID has derailed the application timelines quite a bit so that could be the reason.


  31. Gerald Blodgett September 30, 2020

    Well over a year and a half ago I applied for SENTRI with all my vehicle information and paid the fee. After a long wait, I checked back on my app and saw a box to check that asked if I would like to switch my program from SENTRI to Global. Based on reading that Global included SENTRI privileges AND that I could interview nearby at SFO rather than having to drive 600 miles + lodging each way to a border office, I checked the box. I have since gotten my conditional approval and scheduled my interview on 10/13/20. My concern is the conflicting information concerning the Global/SENTRI connection. The wording on the TTP site clearly states that Global includes SENTRI entry privileges at border points. However, your information above mentions that Global does not AUTOMATICALLY include SENTRI and must be handled separately in some way. (Remember that my application initially included all my automobile information as it was originally for the SENTRI program.) Also, there is mention in one of your answers that indicates that the included SENTRI is only good for expedited pedestrian entry and not automobile lanes. I own property in Los Cabos so my plan all along was to expedite driving/using SENTRI lanes. Now I’m not sure what to do.


  32. Maria Rios-Martinez October 7, 2020

    I filled out applications for my husband and myself. I can view my application is still in review for myself but I lost the email and password that I used for my husband and the set of codes that were sent at the time of filling out the application. How can I find out what the status is on his application? My application shows it is still in review but I cannot view his.


  33. Roxie Welsh October 7, 2020

    How long does it take to receive the Sentri card after the interview? My son had his interview on 9/26/2020 and hasn’t received his Sentri card in the mail yet? Today is 10/7/2020.


    • Hi Roxie,

      There does not appear to be a set date for how long it takes to receive your Sentri card. I do know that US CBP has been experiencing delays due to COVID. If you’d like an update on your son’s card I recommend calling the office where he interviewed.


  34. My husband and I applied for Sentri , the officer asked if we committed an immigration violation. We came illegally to the US and she said that we have to be permanent residents for 10 years. Is there a way to ask for a pardon and reapply sooner? It’s only been 4 years since we have the Green card.


    • Hi Montse,

      If you were instructed by the agent that you’re required to be a permanent resident for 10 years, and have only been one for 4, it seems there might be no other recourse unless they change that rule in the future.


  35. I have been conditionally approved and am scheduled for a SENTRI interview. When applying, I did not see anywhere to register my vehicle. Can I add it to my application now? Will they look at my vehicle at the SENTRI interview or will they just need to see paperwork? Will there have to be a separate vehicle inspection?


    • Hi Mark,

      Vehicle inspections are not required. During your interview you should just need to provide your vehicle’s registration, your drivers license, and license plate number.


  36. My family and I have are conditionally approved for SENTRI and have appointments scheduled for the end of the year 2021.
    It looks like Global entry is much easier to get an appointment for. Can I switch the rest of the family from SENTRI to Global while bumping up my interview date for the SENTRI pass (It’s much easier to find openings for single interview slots than one for the whole family.)?
    Can I transfer the information from their application from SENTRI to GLOBAL or should I cancel SENTRI and start over with GLOBAL?


  37. Anthony Canales November 2, 2020

    Can I get a SENTRI card if I don’t travel so much?


  38. Veronica Maria Gallego November 8, 2020

    I recently added a vehicle and I received a letter of approval but I need to change the license plate and can’t figure out how. It doesn’t give any option to manage my account on the dashboard.


  39. Frank English November 11, 2020

    I have an interview appointment for a year from now. Are there locations that have walk-up interviews? Which locations are available?


  40. Great post and very informative. I live in Los Angeles, If I have been approved and have Global Entry and I’m just adding a vehicle, during COVID times, do I need to drive down to the Global Entry / SENTRI Enrollment Center (2500 Paseo Internacional, San Diego, CA 92154) to just show them my vehicle information?

    The FAQ states “Global Entry members who wish to drive their vehicle in the SENTRI lanes, must register their vehicle with CBP and schedule an appointment at a SENTRI enrollment center to conduct a 7-point vehicle inspection.” What does this inspection look like if you are already a Global Entry member?


  41. Also Mark, You can check often for earlier interview openings since some people cancel. Also, you can find another enrollment Sentri center for an interview in a different city. I just got approved last week and for SD the earliest date was Nov 2021. I scheduled and then I tried another center, so I found a date for my interview in 2 weeks for sentri. I live in San Diego, Ca but will drive to San Luis, AZ for my interview. Good luck!


  42. Marycarmen Sosa November 23, 2020

    My Mom and Dad applied for SENTRI last year at the same time. My Dad’s conditional approval already came in but my Mom’s hasn’t. How could that be? I already logged in but there is no information. What could I do in this case?? How much time after receiving the conditional approval does a person have to set up the interview with the immigration agent?


    • Hi Marycarmen,

      I would suggest contacting your local Sentri enrollment office and ask for the reason your mom’s application has been delayed.


  43. Sandt Litchfield December 17, 2020

    If Sentri does not accept major credit cards then what does it accept? Does it accept the Venmo debit card?


  44. Where do I send my Sentri application check? I don’t know the address, where can I look for it?


  45. I got a DUI in 2020 and both of my kids and husband have SENTRI, will SENTRI take away their cards?


  46. I have Global Entry that expires in June. I applied for Sentri, but I live in California and there aren’t any appointments available here until late 2022. The only available are in Texas. I’m not clear if the Texas appointments are virtual. I also paid to register a car with Global Entry and I’m not sure what this actually gets me. I’m concerned my Global Entry will lapse while I’m trying to bump up to Sentri.


  47. I’m a permanent resident and before getting it, I applied for a 601a provisional waiver. One of the questions on the application asks if we have a waiver of Inadmissibility. I already applied but I was confused by that question because 601 is a waiver of Inadmissibility and 601a is a provisional waiver. Are both waivers the same? Will this disqualify me? I marked that I didn’t have one because I didn’t know if they were the same. Should I cancel the application and wait untill I get my citizenship?


  48. I got a DUI 5 yrs ago. Will I be denied if I apply for Sentri?


    • Hi Victor,

      A SENTRI applicant must not have any penalties, violations, arrests, convictions or pending law enforcement investigations in their backgrounds. So it is likely that you would be denied.


  49. The Sentri Interview Instructions say you should present a copy of your car registration. What if you have a new car, and have yet to receive a copy of the registration? Will sales documents and proof of insurance be enough?


    • Hi Rex,

      I cannot say definitively since we do no represent CBP. I would contact your local Sentri office to see if those documents will be sufficient. Thanks for reading!


    • Rex Jones May 29, 2021

      Well I found out that you are out of luck. The interviewer would not register the vehicle. Instead she requested that I go online and register the vehicle after receiving my Sentri authorization. I did this. It was easy and fast, but I was charged an additional fee, about $50.


  50. Hello,
    Thank you in advance for your help.
    Can I apply for Sentri with a passport card or does it have to be the passport book?


  51. clara Jaramillo May 17, 2021

    Can I use the Global Entry instead of my Sentry to cross from Mexico to the US? I can get credit from my credit card if I get the Global entry but not the Sentri. My sentry will expire in July. Thanks for your response.


    • Hi Clara,

      Global Entry only works for re-entry into the US via air at the airport. In order to be expedited at the US-Mexico border via car you would need Sentri.


  52. Rex Jones May 29, 2021

    Nowadays the SENTRI pass is not worth the additional cost. In fact, during my SENTRI interview in Laredo, the agents asked “why are getting a SENTRI pass instead of Global Entry?”. Good question!

    I didn’t know that SENTRI is only used at a few crossings, and where it is used, you need the Mexican equivalent of SENTRI to make use of the SENTRI lanes. If you don’t, you can’t get into the SENTRI lanes.

    Bottom line, the agents were right. Most of us should now apply for Global Entry rather than SENTRI. I was told that access to SENTRI lanes is only available when you have the Mexican equivalent as well.


  53. Maria Sandoval June 23, 2021

    What items can I bring across, like groceries, on Sentri?


    • Hi Maria,

      You may be able to bring in food such as fruits, meats, or other agricultural products depending on the region or country from which you are traveling. You must declare all food products.


  54. Luis Angulo July 21, 2021

    I applied to renew my SENTRI a few months ago, still waiting to get approved.
    Now I registered my new Car in my account but I have to cross to work every day and it is still on Pending Review. What happens if I cross with my car without approval?


    • Hi Luis,

      You should still be able to cross with your new card without issue, you just won’t be able to use the SENTRI lane until the approval comes though. Safe travels!


  55. juan manuel August 30, 2021

    I received my conditional approval two weeks ago and I am scheduled for an interview in Arizona in October 2021. The car I registered when I filled out my application is not with me anymore. What should I do?


    • Hi Juan,

      I suggest you contact your closest Sentri office to see if they can adjust the application for you. Otherwise, they might request that you submit a new one with accurate vehicle information.


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