So, this past Tuesday I went to get my SENTRI card, and it has been an interesting experience to say the least. I applied back in March of 2019 but was “conditionally approved” until May of 2020 – conditionally approved meaning I could now set up an interview. Of course, with the pandemic, I was not able to get an appointment until June 29, 2021. I also had to get appointments for my daughter and son. My daughter’s appointment is this coming Friday, July 2nd, my son’s appointment is for December of 2021. Now, I could not find appointments for multiple people at one time so I had to make each individual an appointment. Before I went to the appointment I thought to myself why not take the kids, and maybe if I am lucky they can squeeze them in and we would all get our SENTRI at the same time. The night before, I received a confirmation of my appointment, and in HUGE red letters it clearly stated that only people with appointments should come to the office. I decided not to take the chance.
I got to my appointment about 25 minutes early; the notification did mention that we should not arrive more than 30 minutes before the appointment. It was a very small office, at least from where I was helped and could see. The front desk had printed out that day’s appointments. Each person that had an appointment that day, the front desk had that person’s confirmation number ready. Also, a married couple went in, the wife had the appointment and they asked the husband to step outside – so it was a good thing that I did not bring my kids. My appointment was at 10:00 am, I was called at 9:55 am, and I was done at about 10:15 am. The only question I got during the interview was why I wanted the SENTRI, that was it. I had to provide proof of citizenship such as a passport, or birth certificate, plus proof of residence such as a utility bill or mortgage statement. I also mentioned to the officer that I was thinking about bringing my kids to see if maybe we could all get our interview done, he said, “Yeah, we wouldn’t have, because some time ago one of the officers went ahead and interviewed and processed a family’s application when only the father had the appointment. A customer complained and we all got in trouble. So, we would have told you no.” I laughed and told him, “Yeah, I saw that on the confirmation, that is why I didn’t.”
The experience was good, the officer was nice, but remember, be nice and say good morning or afternoon, and ask them how their day is going, because that little gesture makes a difference. Ok so, I had to pay $97.50 at the appointment, but I also had to pay an application fee online for $25 – it came out to $122.50. He told me the card should arrive within two weeks. Just incase for those that might be wondering what the SENTRI card is for; it is used for border crossing between Canada and the US and Mexico and the US, it allows the recipient to use a special lane (Called SENTRI lane) where you can cross the border within 20 minutes or less, instead of the 6-10 hours in the normal lane. It is a good investment if you cross the border a lot.
Thanks for reading and I leave you with this thought, “Always be kind and courteous to employees (or people in general) whether it is a secretary, front desk, cashier, teller, or border agent/officer, you never know how their day is going and if you are kind, it might just bring joy to their day”.