Mexico Border: How to Use the Ready Lane

When you drive from Mexico back into the US, there are three lane options – Sentri, Ready and All Traffic. For the average person who crosses occasionally, all traffic is the primary option. These lanes are also the busiest and slowest when traffic peaks. Sentri Lanes require a special pass and they are for the regular crossers who have pre-approved background checks.

That leaves the unique Ready Lane which is designed to expedite traffic across the border. Eligible driver’s have an RFID compliant identification to utilize this lane. We will dive into the eligible ID’s and rules to clarify what is required.

Ready Lane Requirements and Rules

Again, the primary qualification for driving in this lane is a RFID compliant ID. Passport cards are among the most common but there are other approved ID’s for the lane. The following list is current with each option.

ID’s that Qualify:

  • United States Passport Card
  • Nexus Card
  • Sentri Card
  • Global Entry Card
  • FAST Card
  • Enhanced Permanent Resident Card
  • Enhanced Tribal Card
  • Enhanced Border Crossing Card

By using any of these cards, you can skip the long general lines and cross the border quickly. It’s a great option for folks who use the border crossings regularly. For the eligible drivers license states, you will need to visit a local DMV. 

States with eligible ID’s include Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and New York. Canadian Provinces of Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and Columbia also qualify. There is not a standardized ready lane card price and it will depend on the agency issuing your ID.

Are there any other Ready Lane Documents? 

There are not any other requirements other than an eligible visa or proof of citizenship (passport), to enter the United States. All of the same entry rules apply and you cannot bring agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, currency over $10,000, etc.  

How to Use the Crossing:

  1. Have your card ready 
  2. Enter the crossing and pull forward to the reader. Hold your card out so it’s visible. If you have multiple cards, make sure all are visible.
  3. Pull forward when directed by an officer.

Keep in mind, you cannot enter the Sentri Lanes as they have a different card. Sentri Cards work in the Ready Lane but the other qualifying ID’s do not work the other way. Make sure you enter the appropriate lane to avoid potential fines and issues at the border. Otherwise, it’s a low barrier to entry for the Ready Lanes at teh United States, Mexico border.