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US immigration options for British Columbia truckers

Tens of thousands of commercial vehicle drivers haul cargo across the border to and from the United States. Working on tight schedules and having to meet deadlines can be challenging if valuable time is wasted during each border crossing. Fortunately, an agreement between U.S. Immigration and the government of Canada seeks to simplify that process.

The program is a trusted traveller and shipper program that was initiated post 9/11, whereby commercial carriers and their drivers go through background checks. If they pass those tests and meet specific eligibility requirements, they can be entered into the Free and Secure Trade program, also known as FAST. Participants in the program use special FAST vehicle lanes in both directions when they go through customs at the land border posts, including those between British Columbia and Washington state.

Along with the drivers and logistics companies, the entire supply chain, including manufacturers, exporters and importers, are evaluated routinely and certified under a program called the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT. Along with the use of dedicated lanes and the speedy processing of transborder shipments, FAST participants are subjected to fewer border inspections with priority processing and greater efficiency. The program also offers enhanced security for the entire supply chain.

Owners of logistics companies and independent long-haul commercial vehicle drivers in British Columbia might have questions about participating in the FAST program. They can get answers from a lawyer with experience in dealing with U.S immigration issues. Legal counsel can explain the requirements and assist throughout the process for obtaining membership to the commercial clearance program.