FAST program begins renewals, online applications
U.S. and Canadian customs services are moving quickly to renew registration for northern border commercial truck drivers with expedited clearance privileges.
The Free and Secure Trade program is designed to offer expedited clearance for carriers and shippers enrolled in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and Canada’s Partners in Protection programs by reducing the amount of documentation required at crossing, providing dedicating lanes to FAST participants and reducing inspection levels. Under the program, drivers must be pre-vetted as low-risk through a review of their identification and citizenship documents. The FAST commercial driver identification cards, which cost $50, are good for five years and the first batch of drivers is coming up for renewal.
As of Feb. 4, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canadian Border Services Agency had processed in little more than one month 13 percent, or 716, of the 5,800 driver accounts set to expire before Oct. 1, CBP said Friday.
The U.S. border agency recommends FAST drivers file renewal applications up to 90 days prior to the expiration date of their ID card. Drivers who fail to renew in time risk losing their FAST privileges.
CBP said it would announce the U.S.-Mexico FAST renewal process in the future.
Southern border drivers, however, will be able to enroll in FAST online for the first time beginning April 1, the agency said. Paper applications will no longer be accepted at that time.
By late summer drivers will have online accounts that they can manage online, similar to travelers in the NEXUS and SENTRI programs. CBP said account updates, card replacements, conditional approval notifications and interview scheduling will remain manual for several more months. These functions, as well as application and fee payment for northern border FAST, and renewals for both borders are tentatively scheduled for online deployment in the second half of 2008 in cooperation with the Canada Border Services Agency.
There are 92,604 FAST drivers on both borders.