SENTRI Program expands hours to help you skip wait times

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POSTED: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 5:00pm

UPDATED: Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 9:00am

Expanded hours for frequent travelers can help you skip wait times at the border crossing.

The SENTRI lane was established in 2006 to help frequent travelers bypass long wait times when crossing. However, there has been an increased demand for these trusted traveler cards.

Eduardo Perez, CBP Public Affairs, "Here in Brownsville, we are expanding the hours of operation for the office where people can come in and apply for the SENTRI program. Now we are going to be open on Tuesday's and Thursday's an extra four hours from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. And on Saturday's from 8:00am to 4:00pm, all day long."

Applicants must pay a fee just over $120, which is valid for five years.

Approaching passengers must present their card to be able to use the SENTRI lane, but first, you must meet all the requirements.

Perez, "Once you apply for the program, there's going to be an extensive background check done on you. And then once you pass that background, then you can qualify to be in the program. It's a very restrictive program. You can't have any kind of violations before you come into the program, or even after you are in the program."

If any violations occur, the card will be removed. This does not mean that there is any less security.

Travelers are still checked the same as everyone else, and are still up for secondary inspection if necessary.

Perez, "There's a lot of people that have family or businesses on both sides of the border, so they go back and forth several times a day. So with this SENTRI lane, it affords them the possibility of going back and forth faster."

With thousands of vehicles coming across the border every day, the SENTRI lane really helps frequent travelers circumvent the long wait times.

CBP says that even though now the program is only open to vehicles, they hope in the future to expand it to foot traffic.

The best way to apply to the SENTRI program is to schedule an appointment online to meet an agent at Veterans International Bridge

Go to the following website and type "SENTRI" in the search bar.

http://www.cbp.gov/

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