I drove the same car with the same content two days in a row from Mexico to the US via the same border crossing and the same lane (Sentri, as I have a Global Entry card). I was sent to secondary each time: the first time I was asked to be more thorough in my declarations for my future entries (otherwise my global entry card would be revoked), and the second time I was asked not to use the Sentri lanes if my car has too much stuff in it (otherwise my global entry card would be revoked).

I had never heard of such a limitation but I'm unfamiliar with the land border. Is there a limit on how full of items a car is to be allowed to drive from Mexico to the United States using the Sentri lanes, and if so, what's the limit? The inspectors from my first invitation to the secondary weren't at all bothered my numerous belongings, just the fact I hadn't declared them, so I am confused. I was driving a regular sedan with a full trunk and a few items in the back seat.


Global Entry card holders must follow all program rules for SENTRI when using this card at southern land ports of entry. For more information on SENTRI, please go to www.sentri.gov"

so maybe the info is on http://www.sentri.gov or https://www.sentri.gov? which is 404. I see on https://web.archive.org/web/20111201000000*/https://www.sentri.gov it used to point to http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/trusted_traveler/sentri/ which is 404 too. I'm guessing https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/sentri/ is the new page, but no info there.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 20:57
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    Reopening the question as it seems like an interesting piece of trivia about the southern express lanes, as per Franck's answer.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 20:58
  • @JonathanReez I got sent to secondary inspection over that issue, and US CBP agents threatened me to remove my Global Entry status, so it's not a piece of trivia but some very important yet often overlooked information about one of the busiest land border entry points. The question shouldn't have been closed. Commented Feb 12, 2023 at 7:54

1 Answer 1


I discussed with 5 other US border officers (individual, independent discussions) at San Ysidro Port of Entry and Otay Mesa Port of Entry. I was consistently told by each of them that in order to use a Sentri lane, one has to have a vehicle to is easy to search (e.g., 1 individual with 1 suitcase), otherwise one has to use the Ready lane. I was also told by one officer that this is stipulated in the Global Entry pamphlet. Failure to do so is ground for Global Entry card revocation. It seems clear that you better not enter the US from Mexico via Sentri with an automobile full of items, and that the vast majority of Sentri users aren't aware of that.

However, [email protected] told me there's no such rule regarding not using a SENTRI lane when transporting a large quantity of personal belongings:

Thank you for contacting the CBP Traveler Communications Center.

As a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) member, you are permitted to use the SENTRI lanes as long as all of the following conditions are met:

  • The vehicle is registered under SENTRI
  • All passengers are TTP members with activated RFID cards.
  • The driver has documentation authorizing him/her to drive the vehicle.

Individual ports of entry may have specific guidance regarding towing or other considerations. Please contact the port of entry regarding their guidance on use of the SENTRI lanes while transporting a large quantity of personal belongings.

Therefore the rule may be specific to only some of the US ports of entries.

  • Can you post the relevant passage from the Global Entry pamphlet? That would make this an answer rather than just an anecdote. Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 1:48
  • @GregHewgill unfortunately I don't have the pamphlet. And since you voted to close this question, other people won't be able to provide their answers either. Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 1:55
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    I voted to close as "opinion based" (the opinion of the border officer). However, if you can find documentation that supports a reasonable limit regarding vehicle contents, that is a valid answer to this question and then it can be reopened. Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 3:05
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    @GregHewgill "It depends on the opinion of the border officer" is a valid answer. Why was this question whether there a limit on how full of items a car is to be allowed to drive from Mexico to the US closed as opinion-based? Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 10:02
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    I've checked the pamphlets on this page and there's nothing about "easy to search" there. If this information is somewhere, its not in the pamphlets.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 19:51

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