FAST is a joint program between the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and United States Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) that enhances border and trade chain security while making cross-border commercial shipments simpler and subject to fewer delays.
It is a voluntary program that enables the CBSA to work closely with the private sector to enhance border security, combat organized crime and terrorism, and prevent contraband smuggling. Under the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, FAST members who are Canadian or U.S. citizens can use their FAST membership card as an alternative document to the passport when entering the U.S. by land or water. Permanent residents of Canada or the U.S. still require a passport and visa (if applicable) to enter the U.S.
FAST into Canada
The CBSA offers members of its Trusted Trader programs access to dedicated FAST lanes and booths at designated ports of entry for expedited border passage. FAST builds on the Customs Self Assessment (CSA) program and the increased security measures under the Partners in Protection (PIP) program. Importers and carriers must be approved in the CSA program and must have signed a PIP memorandum of understanding to be eligible for FAST. The driver must have a valid FAST card or Commercial Driver Registration Program (CDRP) card.
*Note: CDRP cards were first created to handle CSA shipments before FAST was established. The CDRP is a Canadian program and therefore its membership cards are only valid for coming into Canada. FAST is a joint initiative between the U.S. and Canada so its driver membership cards are recognized on both sides of the border.
FAST into the U.S.
Any truck using FAST lanes must be a U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)-approved carrier and transporting qualifying goods for a C-TPAT-approved importer. The driver must have a valid FAST card.
How it works
All FAST program participants (drivers, carriers and importers) must undergo a risk assessment. FAST-approved participants are identified as low risk, which enables the CBSA to focus its resources and security efforts on travellers of high or unknown risk.
When a FAST-approved driver arrives at the border, he or she presents three bar-coded documents to the border services officer (one for each of the participating parties: the driver, the carrier and the importer). The officer can quickly scan the bar codes while all trade data declarations and verifications are done at a later time, away from the border.
Under FAST, eligible goods arriving for approved companies and transported by approved carriers using registered drivers are cleared into Canada or the U.S. with greater speed and certainty, which reduces costs for FAST participants.
As of February 28, 2017, the Pacific Highway port of entry converted to the FAST-1st model, which continues to offer priority access to FAST eligible vehicles, while also reducing overall congestion at the border. Only FAST eligible vehicles carrying trusted trader shipments can use the dedicated FAST lane, and will have priority access to all open inspection booths. Traffic lights will control traffic flow and prioritize FAST vehicles; upon receiving a green light, commercial drivers may select whichever available inspection booth has the shortest queue, rather than being directed to a specific FAST or non FAST booth. Based on the system currently in operation for south-bound commercial traffic at the port, FAST 1st will improve border efficiency for all CBSA clients.
How to use the FAST card
You can cross the border as a FAST member using a dedicated FAST lane only if everyone in the vehicle has a valid FAST commercial driver card and you are transporting eligible goods for a FAST-approved carrier and importer.
The following procedures apply when using dedicated FAST lanes:
- When you enter Canada or the U.S. using a dedicated FAST lane, stop and hold your FAST commercial driver card(s) in front of the card reader (where available) and then stop at the inspection booth to complete the inspection process.
- For border locations without a dedicated FAST lane, present your FAST commercial driver card(s) to the border services officer in the inspection booth each time you cross the border.
While your FAST membership is valid for five years, it is important to remember that your immigration status must also be valid at all times. You must possess the appropriate immigration and identity documents in addition to your FAST commercial driver card. These may include your passport, permanent resident card, birth certificate, work permit/visa and other related documents.
As a FAST commercial driver, you must declare all personal and commercial goods you are importing whenever you cross the border into Canada and the U.S.
To qualify for the streamlined FAST process, goods imported into Canada must meet these conditions:
- They must not be prohibited, controlled or regulated importations as set out in any act of Parliament or provincial legislation;
- They must not be subject to the release requirements of any other government department; and
- They must be shipped directly to Canada from the continental U.S. or Mexico.
Canadians returning to Canada
- If you are returning to Canada and importing goods for your personal use that do not exceed your personal exemption, you must make an oral declaration to the border services officer in the inspection booth.
- Canadian residents can obtain traveller declaration cards (TDCs) that can be presented any time they cross the border into Canada using the FAST lane. TDCs must be completed before arriving in the lane.
- When you arrive, hand your TDC to the border services officer in the inspection booth.
- If you have exceeded your personal exemption, the duties and taxes owing will be charged to your credit card.
U.S. residents entering Canada
- If you are entering Canada and importing goods for your personal use that do not exceed your personal exemption, you must make an oral declaration to the border services officer in the inspection booth.
- If you are entering Canada and have goods to declare in excess of your personal exemption, you must use the regular lane.
Canadians entering the U.S.
- If you are entering the U.S. and importing goods for your personal use, you must make an oral declaration to the border services officer in the inspection booth.
- If you are entering the U.S. and have goods to declare in excess of your personal exemption, you must use the regular lane.
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