Free and Secure Trade (FAST)

FAST U.S./Canada
FAST U.S./Mexico

FAST Overview

The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a Border Accord Initiative between the United States, Mexico, and Canada designed to ensure security and safety while enhancing the economic prosperity of each country. In developing this program, Mexico, Canada and the United States have agreed to coordinate, to the maximum extent possible, their commercial processes for clearance of commercial shipments at the border. This will promote free and secure trade by using common risk-management principles, supply chain security, industry partnership, and advanced technology to improve the efficiency of screening and clearing commercial traffic at our shared borders.

Eligibility for the FAST program requires participants (carrier, drivers, importers, and southern border manufacturers) to submit an application, agreement, and security profile depending on their role in the Customs and Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and FAST programs. The FAST program allows known low risk participants to receive expedited border processing. This enables U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to re-direct security efforts and inspections where they are needed most - on commerce that is high risk, or unknown risk - while ensuring the movement of legitimate, low-risk commerce.

When decisions are made to elevate the national threat level, all CBP personnel must be cognizant of the heightened threat of terrorism as well a mandated increase in examinations of cargo and conveyances. Elevated alert levels should have no adverse impact on FAST processing. While other conveyances and cargo will be subject to a greater degree of inspection, FAST shipments are considered known low risk. As such, their processing should continue under normal guidelines during heightened alert levels.

FAST Benefits

The FAST program is voluntary. The benefits for those that apply and are accepted into the FAST program include:

1. Dedicated lanes (where available) for greater speed and efficiency in the clearance of FAST Trans-border shipments;

2. Reduced number of examinations for continued compliance with Customs FAST requirements as well as secondary priority processing;

3. A strong and ongoing partnership with the Canadian Partners in Protection (PIP) and CBP C-TPAT administrations;

4. Enhanced supply chain security and safety while protecting the economic prosperity of the United States, Mexico, and Canada; and,

5. For carrier participants, the knowledge that they are transporting shipments for a C-TPAT approved importer, and on the southern border, a C-TPAT manufacturer.

Basic Participation Requirements

FAST is a clearance process for known low-risk shipments, thus, any truck using FAST lane processing must be a C-TPAT approved carrier, carrying qualifying goods from a C-TPAT approved importer, and the driver in the possession of a valid FAST Commercial Driver Registration ID Card. Although FAST participation requirements along the northern and southern border are very similar, on the southern border there are two additional requirements. The manufacturer must be an approved C-TPAT participant, and they must also adhere to CBP high security seal requirements.

C-TPAT is a joint government business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen overall supply chain and border security. C-TPAT recognizes that CBP can provide the highest level of security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the supply chain, importers, carriers, brokers, warehouse operators and manufacturers. Through this initiative, CBP asks businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate their security guidelines to their business partners within the supply chain.

1. Importer Registration

Importers must complete an application for C-TPAT participation with CBP. Importers authorized to use the FAST program for clearance into the United States will have a demonstrated history of complying with all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements, and will have made a commitment to security enhancing business practices as required by C-TPAT.

2. Carrier Registration

Carriers must complete the FAST Highway Carrier Application Process requirements that include corporate information, a security profile, and a written Highway Carrier Agreement.

Northern Border : In order to qualify for FAST Highway Carrier membership into the U.S. and Canada, two separate applications must be submitted to each country's respective FAST Processing Centers. Each country will perform an independent risk assessment and each country will issue independent approvals for participation. For the United States, a FAST approved carrier will have met all aspects of C-TPAT through the FAST registration process.

Southern Border : To qualify for the U.S./Mexico border highway carriers agreement, the carrier must have demonstrated a history of complying with all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements set forth by CBP. The applying carrier must have made a commitment to security-enhancing business practices as required by C-TPAT and use drivers that are in possession of a valid FAST commercial driver card when using FAST clearance.

3. Commercial Driver Application

Two separate driver application processes exist for FAST, 1) Northern Border and 2) Southern Border. For northern border applicants, drivers must complete a FAST Commercial Driver Application for the United States and Canada. The application will first be risk assessed by a Canadian consortium of the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA), Citizenship and Immigration Service for Canada (CIC), and Canada's Agence de Revenu (ARC). Upon approval from Canada, CBP will conduct a full U.S. based risk assessment. Applicants identified as low risk will report to an enrollment center where they will be interviewed, have their original identification and citizenship documents reviewed, fingerprinted and have a digital photo taken. Low-risk applicants will then be issued a FAST Commercial Driver Card.

The procedure for the southern border is similar however the FAST driver application is submitted to the Mellon Financial Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania prior to being forwarded to the CBP risk assessment center in St Albans, Vermont. Applicants identified as low risk will report to an enrollment center where they will be interviewed, have their original identification and citizenship documents reviewed, fingerprinted and have a digital photo taken. Low-risk applicants will then be issued a FAST - Commercial Driver Card.

FAST Processing Availability

The initial phase of FAST processing for U.S. bound commercial shipments began in December 2002 at the port of Detroit, Michigan. Today, CBP has implemented FAST processing at the following northern and southern border crossings:

Northern Border

Alexandria Bay, New York

Blaine, Washington

Buffalo, New York

Champlain, New York

Derby Line, Vermont

Detroit, Michigan

Highgate Springs, Vermont

Houlton, Maine

Massena, New York

Ogdensburg, New York

Oroville, Washington

Pembina, North Dakota

Port Huron, Michigan

Portal, North Dakota

Sweetgrass, Montana

 

Southern Border

Brownsville, Texas

Calexico, California

Del Rio, Texas

Douglas, Arizona

Eagle Pass, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Laredo, Texas

Nogales, Arizona

Otay Mesa, California

Pharr, Texas

Rio Grande City, Texas

San Luis, Arizona

Santa Teresa, New Mexico

Tecate, California

Future FAST expansion sites include:

Northern Border

Calais, Maine

Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

International Falls, Minnesota

Cargo Release Method(s)

The two cargo release methods for FAST eligible shipments are the Free and Secure Trade system formerly known as the National Customs Automated Prototype (NCAP), additionally the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) is also recognized as eligible method of cargo release processing for FAST.

1. FAST - FAST is the first fully electronic and completely paperless cargo release mechanism put into place by CBP. Paperless processing is achieved through advanced electronic data transmissions and transponder technology. FAST is highly automated and allows for the expedited release of highly compliant cargo from major importers, reducing congestion at our land borders.

2. Pre Arrival Processing System (PAPS) -The Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) is an ACS (Automated Commercial System) border cargo release system that utilizes barcode technology to expedite the release of commercial shipments while still processing each shipment through Border Cargo Selectivity (BCS) and the Automated Targeting System (ATS).

Each PAPS shipment requires a unique barcode label, which the carrier attaches to the invoice and the truck manifest while the merchandise is still in Canada or Mexico. The barcode consists of the Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) and Pro-Bill number or entry number. The licensed U.S. Customs broker in the United States must indicate this sequencing of SCAC code and unique number (Pro Bill, Entry number or unique set of numbers) in the BCS entry in ACS. Upon the truck's arrival at the border, the CBP officer scans the barcode, which automatically retrieves the entry information from ACS. If no examination is required, the CBP officer then releases the truck, reducing the carrier's wait time and easing congestion at the U.S. border.

Additional Information

In addition to the FAST information found on the CBP web site, see FAST information on the Canada Border Security Agency web site at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca or contact a representative at any of the designated FAST sites.

FAST U.S./Canada

Free and Secure Trade (FAST)

Overview

The FAST program is a bilateral initiative between the United States and Canada designed to ensure security and safety while enhancing the economic prosperity of both countries. In developing this program, Canada and the United States have agreed to harmonize, to the maximum extent possible, their commercial processes for clearance of commercial shipments at the border. This will promote free and secure trade by using common risk-management principles, supply chain security, industry partnership, and advanced technology to improve the efficiency of screening and clearing commercial traffic at our shared border.

Objectives

FAST is an ambitious program both in terms of its scope and its implementation date. For the United States and Canada, the initiative's objectives promise to revolutionize the processing of transborder trade:

1. The program aims to increase the integrity of supply chain security by offering expedited clearance to carriers and importers enrolled in Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) or Canada's Partners in Protection (PIP).

2. It's designed to streamline and to integrate registration processes for drivers, carriers, and importers; minimizing paperwork and ensuring only low risk participants are enrolled as members.

3. The initiative seeks to expedite the clearance of transborder shipments of compliant partners by reducing Customs information requirements, dedicating lanes at major crossings to FAST participants, using common technology, and physically examining cargo transported by these low-risk clients with minimal frequency.

4. The program is a catalyst for both Customs administrations to participate in the enhanced technologies by using transponders, which would make it easier to clear low risk shipments, and would mitigate the cost of program participation for FAST partners.

Benefits

FAST approved U.S./Canada highway carriers will benefit from:

1. Dedicated lanes (where available) for greater speed and efficiency in the clearance of FAST transborder shipments.

2. Reduced number of examinations for continued compliance with Customs FAST requirements.

3. A strong and ongoing partnership with the Canadian (PIP) and Customs (C-TPAT) administrations.

4. Enhanced supply chain security and safety while protecting the economic prosperity of both countries.

5. The knowledge that they are carrying shipments for a C-TPAT approved importer.

6. A head start for the upcoming modifications to FAST that will expand eligible electronic cargo release methods. The FAST processing of Pre Arrival Processing System (PAPS) is currently in use and will commence at expanded locations along the northern border during the year.

Inauguration

The initial phase of FAST for U.S. and Canada bound commercial shipments began in December 2002. FAST processing is currently available for qualifying commercial shipments at the following U.S./Canadian ports:

U.S. Border

Canada Border

Alexandria Bay, New York

Landsdowne, Quebec

Buffalo, New York

Fort Erie, Ontario

Blaine, Washington

Douglas, British Columbia

Calais, Maine

St. Stephen, New Brunswick

Champlain, New York

Lacolle, Quebec

Derby Line, Vermont

Stanstead Place, Quebec

Detroit, Michigan

Windsor, Ontario

Highgate Springs, Vermont

Phillipsburg, Quebec

Houlton, Maine

Woodstock, New Brunswick

International Falls, Washington

Fort Frances, Manitoba

Lewiston, New York

Queenston, Ontario

Massena, New York

Cornwall, Ontario

Ogdensburg, New York

Prescott, Ontario

Oroville, Washington

Osoyoos, British Columbia

Pembina, North Dakota

Emerson Junction, Manitoba

Portal, North Dakota

Bienfait, Saskatchewan

Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Sweetgrass, Montana

Coutts, Alberta

Qualifications

FAST is a harmonized clearance process for shipments of known compliant importer. Thus, any truck using FAST lane processing must be a C-TPAT approved carrier, carrying qualifying goods from a C-TPAT approved importer, and the driver must possess a valid FAST-Commercial Driver Card. FAST processing is based upon advanced electronic transmission of information. The following are the key components:

  • Importer Registration
    Importers will complete separate applications to the Customs administrations. Importers authorized to use the FAST program for clearance into the United States will have a demonstrated history of complying with all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements, and will have made a commitment to security enhancing business practices as required by C-TPAT.
  • Carrier Registration
    Carriers will complete the FAST U.S./Canada Border Highway Carrier Application Process requirements that include corporate information, a security profile, and a written U.S./Canada Border Highway Carrier Agreement. In order to qualify for FAST Highway Carrier membership into the U.S. and Canada, two separate applications must be submitted to each country's respective FAST Processing Centers. Each country will perform an independent risk assessment and each country will issue independent approvals for participation. For the United States, a FAST approved carrier will have met all aspects of C-TPAT through the FAST registration process.
  • Commercial Driver Application
    Drivers will complete a U.S./Canada FAST Commercial Driver Application for the U.S. and Canada. The application will be risk assessed by the customs and immigration services of both countries. Applicants identified as low risk will report to an enrollment center where they will be interviewed, have their original identification and citizenship documents reviewed, fingerprinted and have a digital photo taken. Low-risk applicants will then be issued a FAST - Commercial Driver Identification Card.

Cargo Release Methods

The two present cargo release methods for FAST shipments are the National Customs Automated Prototype (NCAP) and the PAPS. NCAP/FAST processing for FAST began in December 2002. The FAST processing of PAPS shipments is currently taking place.

1. FAST - FAST is the first completely paperless cargo release mechanism put into place by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This paperless processing is achieved through electronic data transmissions and transponder technology. FAST is highly automated and allows for the expedited release of highly compliant cargo from major importers, reducing congestion at our land borders.

2. The Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) - PAPS is a Customs Automated Commercial System (ACS) border cargo release mechanism that utilizes barcode technology to expedite the release of commercial shipments while processing each shipment through Border Cargo Selectivity (BCS) and the Automated Targeting System (ATS).

 

FAST U.S./Mexico

Free and Secure Trade (FAST)

Overview

The FAST program is a bilateral initiative between the United States and Mexico designed to ensure security and safety while enhancing the economic prosperity of both countries. In developing this program, Mexico and the United States have agreed to coordinate to the maximum extent possible, their commercial processes for clearance of commercial shipments at the border. This will promote free and secure trade by using common risk-management principles, supply chain security, industry partnership, and advanced technology to improve the efficiency of screening and clearing commercial traffic at our shared border.

Objectives

FAST is an ambitious program both in terms of its scope and its implementation dates. For the United States and Mexico, the initiative's objectives promise to revolutionize the processing of transborder trade:

1. The program aims to increase the integrity of supply chain security by offering expedited clearance to carriers and importers enrolled in Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).

2. It's designed to streamline and to integrate registration processes for drivers, carriers, and importers, minimizing paperwork and ensuring only low risk participants are enrolled as members.

3. The initiative seeks to expedite the clearance of transborder shipments of compliant partners by reducing Customs information requirements, dedicating lanes at major crossings to FAST participants, using common technology, and physically examining cargo transported by these low-risk clients with minimal frequency.

4. The program is a catalyst for both Customs administrations to participate in the enhanced technologies by using transponders, which would make it easier to clear low risk shipments, and would mitigate the cost of program participation for FAST partners.

Benefits

FAST approved U.S./Mexico highway carriers will benefit from:

1. Dedicated lanes (where available) for greater speed and efficiency in the clearance of FAST transborder shipments.

2. Reduced number of examinations for continued compliance with Customs FAST requirements.

3. A strong and ongoing partnership with the Mexican and Customs (C-TPAT) administrations.

4. Enhanced supply chain security and safety while protecting the economic prosperity of both countries.

5. The knowledge that they are carrying shipments for a C-TPAT approved importer.

6. A head start for the upcoming modifications to FAST that will expand eligible electronic cargo release methods. The FAST processing of Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) is currently in use and will commence at locations along the U.S./Mexico border this year.

 

 

 

Inauguration

The initial phase of FAST for the United States and Mexico bound commercial shipments began on September 27, 2003 at the Port of El Paso, Texas. Additional dedicated FAST lane processing is available at the following locations:

FAST Southern Border Operations

U.S. Border

Mexico Border

Brownsville, Texas

Matamoros, Tamaulipas

Calexico, California

Mexicali, Baja California

Del Rio, Texas

Villa Acuna, Coahila

Douglas, Arizona

Agua Prieta, Sonora

Eagle Pass, Texas

Piedras Negras, Coahuila

El Paso, Texas

Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua

Hidalgo, Texas

Reynosa, Tamaulipas

Laredo, Texas

Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

Nogales, Arizona

Nogales, Sonora

Otay Mesa, California

Tijuana, Baja California

Rio Grande City, Texas

Cd. Camargo, Tamaulipas

San Luis, Arizona

San Luis, Sonora

Santa Teresa, New Mexico

San Jeronimo, Chihuahua

Tecate, California

Tecate, Baja California

Qualifications

FAST is a harmonized clearance process for shipments of known compliant importer. Thus, any truck using FAST lane processing must be a C-TPAT approved carrier, carrying qualifying goods from a C-TPAT approved manufacturer, importer, and the driver must possess a valid FAST-Commercial Driver Card. FAST processing is based upon advanced electronic transmission of information. The following are the key components:

  • Manufacturer Registration
    Mexican manufacturers who are C-TPAT certified will be allowed to participate in the FAST program along the U.S./Mexico Border. Mexican related party manufacturers that are whole or majority owned subsidiaries of current C-TPAT importers that are controlled by the C-TPAT importer and are included in the importer's C-TPAT security profile will be eligible for FAST processing upon completion of the C-TPAT Importer Related Party Manufacturer Information by the C-TPAT importer. Mexican related party manufacturers who are NOT included in the C-TPAT importer's security profile must go through the entire application process for C-TPAT certification. Once certified, these parties will be eligible for FAST processing. Please note that per FAST requirements, Mexican manufacturers must ensure that high security mechanical seals are used on all loaded containers or trailers destined for the United States, and where appropriate, must follow ISO/PSA standard 17712. Refer to U.S./Mexico Border C-TPAT/FAST Seal Requirements for more information.
  • Importer Registration
    Importers will complete a FAST Application to Customs and Border Protection in the United States. Importers authorized to use the FAST program for clearance into the United States will have a demonstrated history of complying with all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements, and will have made a commitment to security enhancing business practices as required by C-TPAT. Please note that per FAST requirements, importers participating in FAST have responsibilities to ensure that high security mechanical seals are used on all loaded containers or trailers destined for the United States, and where appropriate, must follow ISO/PSA standard 17712. Refer to U.S./Mexico Border C-TPAT/FAST Seal Requirements for more information.
  • Carrier Registration
    Carriers will complete the FAST U.S./Mexico Border Highway Carrier Application Process requirements that include corporate information, a security profile, and a written U.S./Mexico Border Highway Carrier Agreement. In order to qualify for FAST Highway Carrier membership into the United States and Mexico, a carrier application must be submitted to the FAST Processing Center. An independent risk assessment will be performed and once the assessment is complete, an approval for FAST participation will be authorized. For the United States, a FAST approved carrier will have met all aspects of C-TPAT through the FAST registration process. Carriers must ensure that all of their employed drivers are in possession of a valid FAST Commercial Driver Identification Card or other identification issued only by CBP. Please note that per FAST requirements, carriers participating in FAST have responsibilities to ensure that high security mechanical seals are used on all loaded containers or trailers destined for the U.S., and where appropriate, must follow ISO/PSA standard 17712. Refer to U.S./Mexico Border C-TPAT/FAST Seal Requirements for more information.
  • Commercial Driver Application
    Drivers must complete a single FAST U.S./Mexico Border Commercial Driver Application for the United States and Mexico. CBP will assess the application for risk. Applicants identified as low risk will report to an enrollment center where they will be interviewed, have their original identification and citizenship documents reviewed, fingerprinted and have a digital photo taken. Low-risk applicants will then be issued a FAST - Commercial Driver Identification Card.
  • FAST Driver Enrollment Centers
    FAST commercial driver enrollment centers are operational at the ports of:
  • Otay Mesa, California
  • Calexico, California
  • Nogales, Arizona
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Laredo, Texas
  • Pharr, Texas
  • Brownsville, Texas

Cargo Release Methods

Two present cargo release methods exist for FAST processing. The first method is FAST, which is the modified version of the National Customs Automated Prototype (NCAP) and the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS). More detailed information on these two release methods may be obtained from Federal Register Notice Volume 68, Number 186, published on September 25, 2003, titled the Modification to the Free and Secure Trade Prototype. The initial implementation of the FAST prototype began in December 16, 2002 in Detroit, Michigan. Both cargo release methods are the only accepted electronic transactions available for FAST processing.

1. FAST - Modified NCAP/Prototype is the first complete paperless cargo release mechanism put into place by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This paperless processing is achieved through electronic data transmissions and transponder technology. FAST is highly automated and allows for the expedited release of highly compliant cargo from major importers, reducing congestion at our land borders.

2. The Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) - PAPS is a Customs Automated Commercial System (ACS) border cargo release mechanism that utilizes barcode technology to expedite the release of commercial shipments while processing each shipment through Border Cargo Selectivity (BCS) and the Automated Targeting System (ATS).

Additional Information

For additional information, reference the www.CBP.gov web address or contact a local CBP FAST representative at any of the FAST sites indicated. Designated FAST team members are available to answer questions at designated FAST ports.