Border Crossing Overview - Which Lane Do I Use?

Border Crossing To The U.S. - Which lane do I use?

All Traffic? Fast Pass? Ready Lane? SENTRI? Which lane is which and how can they be used? In this article we demystify these northbound lanes back to the U.S. Each lane has very different requirements which are outlined below. To happier border crossing!

Customs and Border Protection
Regular (All Traffic) Lane
Regular or "All Traffic" lanes accept the widest variety of identity documents to cross back into the United States. They are also generally the longest wait. Regular Lanes accept all documents to include, US Passport Book, Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), Foreign Passport Book, Military Identification Cards (for members of the U.S. armed official maritime business), as well as any of the documents accepted in the Ready or SENTRI lanes including US Passport Card, Enhanced Driver's License and SENTRI/Global Entry. If you don't have any of the previous documents, you may also cross with two documents denoting citizenship and identity (such as the combination of of State issued Driver's license plus birth certificate) but these are not considered "WHTI" compliant and may cause further delays or secondary inspection.
How to use the lane: Most people use a passport.
How to find it: View our San Ysidro - Regular (All Traffic) Driving Directions
Cost: No cost.
Ready Lane
Ready Lane
The Ready Lanes have designated entrances. These lanes, run by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), accept only RFID enabled identity cards. These include the US Passport card, SENTRI/Global Entry cards, enhanced driver's licenses, green cards, and border crossing cards. Electronic passports with the chip do not work in this lane. Real ID cards such as the California Real ID driver's license do not work either.Learn more about where these lanes are located and how to get a passport card.
How to use the lane: Most people use a passport card.
How to find it: View our San Ysidro Ready Lane directions
Cost: $30 for a passport card and it's valid for 10 years.
SENTRI/Global Entry
The SENTRI lanes, run by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), have designated entrances and require applicants to be pre-screened. A formal application process is required and not all applicants are accepted. This pass, while being the most work to obtain, generally has the shortest border crossing line. While not mandated, the CBP has an accepted goal to keep the wait in these lines under 15 minutes which it gets close to during most of its operating hours. More info...
How to use the lane: Apply for SENTRI or Global Entry
How to find it: View our San Ysidro SENTRI Lane directions
Cost: $100 per person for 5 years.
Fast Pass
Fast Lane (aka Medical Lane) - San Ysidro, CA Only
The Fast Pass Lane is a special, expedited lane for tourists and medical tourism run by the Ayuntamiento de Tijuana. This lane is not affiliated with the U.S. Government. This lane allows you to enter the border line at a designated entrance with your one-time use Fast Pass, cutting off a significant portion of the border line. A police officer at the entrance booth will take your Fast Pass and allow you to proceed.
How to get one: Patronize a hotel or medical office that offers the pass.
How to find it: View our Fass Pass video directions.
Cost: Free or varies by venue offering it
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