CBP extends closure of international Trusted Traveler program offices

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Some applications have been granted extensions and some renewals can be done online

An international traveler uses the SENTRI program at Newark Liberty International Airport. (photo courtesy CBP)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The offices that issue permits that reduce the time it takes some travelers and commuters to enter the United States will remain closed through June 1, a federal agency says.

The closure of enrollment centers for four programs under the umbrella of the Trusted Traveler Program is needed to protect the public and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers from exposure to COVID-19, CBP said.

“CBP’s highest priority is to ensure the health, safety and security of our workforce and the American people. CBP agents, officers and mission support personnel will continue to support the whole-of-America response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” the agency said.

The temporary closure applies to Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST enrollment locations. Global Entry mobile enrollment events are also paused until further notice.

In an email to Border Report, the agency clarified that the thousands of SENTRI/Designated Commuter Lane users can still renew their memberships electronically through the SENTRI webpage on the CBP website.

The dedicated commuter lane, known on the border as the “Express Lane,” is of special importance to residents of the United States and Mexico who do business on the other side. Pre-coronavirus wait times at ports of entry often exceeded one hour at regular passenger vehicle lanes, compared to under 10 minutes for the DCL. A CBP website, however, states that the El Paso DCL is closed.

“Once the applicant renews and pays electronically, he or she must print the page that confirms their renewal paid application. The renewal is valid for 18 months, or until CBP is able to schedule an interview at our enrollment center,” CBP spokesman Ruben Jauregui said in an email.

Those travelers must always carry the printed page as proof that the renewal has been completed and paid, along with their SENTRI card whenever crossing.

At the same time, CBP extended the time that Trusted Traveler Program applications remain active. All applicants now have 485 days from the date of their application to complete the enrollment process. In addition, CBP will extend for up to 18 months the Trusted Traveler Program benefits of members who apply for renewal before their current membership expires.

As for first-time applicants, including conditionally-approved applicants who seek an enrollment center interview, they have to reschedule after June 1. Such applicants should check their e-mail and Trusted Traveler Program accounts for further information, CBP said.

CBP’s Enrollment on Arrival program remains operational.

Conditionally-approved Global Entry applicants can complete the enrollment when arriving on an international flight at the 60 airports that offer the program, the agency said, adding it will continue to monitor the COVID-19 crisis to resume enrollment centers interviews “as soon as possible.”

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