SENTRI is not a US Visa, it is a pre-approval to speed up the land border crossing between Mexico and the US.
If you require a Visa to enter the United States, then you will still need this even if you get SENTRI pass. In fact you will need the Visa before you apply for SENTRI (see the second-to-last bullet point here, from US CBP SENTRI Eligibility
Reasons for Ineligibility
You may not be eligible for participation in the SENTRI program if
- Provide false or incomplete information on the application;
- Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants (to include driving under the
- Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
- Are the subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state or local law enforcement agency;
- Are inadmissible to the United States under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or
parole documentation; or
- Cannot satisfy CBP of your low risk status.
Also (from SENTRI Pass FAQs)
I am a Mexican citizen and have a SENTRI card. Can I travel to the USA without a visa?
No, you will still have to apply a non-immigrant visa in an American embassy or consulate in Mexico.
The SENTRI pass can considerably cut the waiting time to enter the US - a drive across the border at somewhere like San Ysidro (Tijuana to San Diego) can take 3 hours (or more), but with SENTRI this time is usually less than 15 minutes.
SENTRI Pass Benefits:
The list of SENTRI pass benefits may be small but put simply, the time
spent queuing at the US Mexico border particularly at peak times makes
a SENTRI pass essential for anyone who crosses the border no matter
how often. Some of the SENTRI program benefits are as follows:
- Faster border crossing times even at peak periods.
- Dedicated SENTRI lanes to expedite travel and save long queue times.
- Faster border inspection time. Customs and Border Patrol estimate that it takes SENTRI card holders 10 seconds at the border guard’s
- Fewer questions by border agents.
- Less stress when traveling with children.
The pre-screening/pre-approval of you and your vehicle is what helps speed up the process, coupled with the fact that a lot less people have the pass so there are less crossing the border through those lanes. Part of the application process is an interview with CBP.
Who is eligible for a SENTRI pass?
The SENTRI pass program is open to
anybody who is a permanent resident or citizen of the USA or Mexico to
apply. However, it is designed for low risk travelers. People with
criminal convictions, penalties, and violations of any kind are not
likely to be approved.