New Changes To U.S. Customs FAST Program

new-changes-to-us-customs-fast-programIf you are a member of the U.S. Customs FAST Program, you are familiar with the ease with which you can cross into and out of Canada and the United States. Having a FAST card is a plus when travelling and transporting goods across the border. Starting in January of 2010, however, the old FAST cards will no longer be accepted at the border.

The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is designed to enable border patrols to focus their efforts on enhancing border security while, at the same time, tackle terrorism attempts and prevent the illegal smuggling of contraband into either country.

All FAST card holders are subjected to an evaluation with regard to the level of risk they pose to either country. If applicants are found to be low risk they are issued a FAST card that is used at the border each time they cross. These cards will be reissued, and all current card holders must make sure they receive their new cards.

Effective January 5, 2010, the old FAST card will no longer be accepted. Once you receive the new card you need to make sure it is activated within thirty days to ensure its validity. Card holders can activate their new cards at Your old card should be destroyed and discarded.

If you are a member of FAST, and you haven’t received your new card, go to your local enrollment centre ASAP to get a new card issued or to apply for a new card. Because the process can take up to two weeks to receive the new card, members are encouraged to take whatever measures are needed to ensure that they will be issued a new card by the deadline.

The new FAST cards have safety features that bring card holders into compliance with the requirements for documentation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHIT).

If you have not received your new card, border patrol will honor your old one only one time when you cross the border and then it will be confiscated and destroyed.