U.S. Trusted Traveler Programs And WHTI Regulations | My Family Travels

The latest regulations from U.S. Customs and Border Protection explain some of the alternatives to expensive passports for international border crossings in the WHTI.

U.S. border crossing requirements changed in June of 2009. The following information concerns the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) as it affects Air and Land Travel for U.S. Citizens. It offers options for families to get compliant with new WHTI regulations by applying for some alternative Identification Options.

The information about Trusted Traveler Programs and Enhanced Driver’s Licenses is excerpted from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. Please visit the C&BP site for the most up-to-date regulations before making travel plans.

Three options in the U.S. Trusted Traveler Program include NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST which provide expedited travel for pre-approved frequent border crossers through dedicated lanes. While NEXUS was designed for northern border crossing and SENTRI for southern border crossing, any of the cards can be used at all U.S. land and sea ports of entry. An Enhanced Driver’s License is being tested in a few states to be used as a cross-border document for land and sea travel.  The specifics of each card are described below.

NEXUS Card

The NEXUS Card is for pre-approved travelers who cross the U.S./Canada border frequently. It has the added benefits of access to dedicated commuter lanes on the northern border, expedited marine reporting and access to NEXUS kiosks at designated Canadian airports.

Cost: Application fee – $50

Requirements: Additional application processes including interview and fingerprinting

Validity: 5 years

Issued by: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Info: Apply online at www.cbp.gov


SENTRI Card

The SENTRI Card is for pre-approved travelers who cross the U.S./Mexico border frequently. It has the added benefit of access to dedicated commuter lanes on the southern border.

Cost: Total cost – $122.25

Requirements: Additional application processes including interview and fingerprinting

Validity: 5 years

Issued by: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Info: Apply Online at www.cbp.gov

FAST Card

The FAST card provides expedited travel to pre-approved commercial truck drivers between the U.S. and Canada and U.S. and Mexico borders through dedicated lanes.

Cost: Application fee – $50

Requirements: Additional application processes including interview and fingerprinting

Validity: 5 years

Issued by: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Info: Apply online at www.cbp.gov

Enhanced Driver’s License

This is a driver’s license that can also be used as a cross-border travel document to enter the U.S. by land and sea. It denotes both identity and citizenship, per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

An online map of the USA illustrates the areas in which it can be used. At present, the following states are issuing this type of WHTI-compliant document: Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington.

For information on costs, validity and issuing agencies, visit the appropriate state government website.

Limitations: Not valid for international air travel

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