In order to be eligible for a FAST Card you:
- must be a citizen of Canada or the United States of America and must be resident in either country, OR
- must be a Permanent Resident of The United States of America or Canada and who currently lives in your country of permanent residence.
Additionally, you must:
- be 18 years of age;
- have a valid driver’s license;
- be admissible to both the US and Canada under current immigration regulations;
- have never been convicted of a serious crime;
- have never violated Canada or US customs regulations;
- complete the application honestly and accurately;
- meet any other requirements of the Free and Secure Trade program.
- Status Requirements
- Admissibility Requirements
- Criminal Record Requirements
- Customs Regulations Requirements
Status Requirements for FAST Cards
You must either be a citizen of Canada or the USA or a permanent resident of either country in order to get a FAST card. You must have one of these statuses in addition to meeting the other requirements in order to be eligible.
FAST Eligibility for Citizens of Canada and the United States of America
Citizens of the US and Canada must be residents of either country to apply. (A card will not be mailed to a mailing address outside of either country.) Residing in any of the territories of the United States does not count as residing in the US.
FAST Eligibility for Permanent Residents of Canada and the USA
If you are a permanent resident of either country, you are eligible to apply for a FAST Card if you permanently reside in the country you have PR status in. If you would normally need a visa to visit either Canada or the USA, you will also need a visa to be eligible for the FAST Card.
FAST Eligibility Temporary Residents: Visa holders and Work and Study Permit holders
If you have a visitor visa, a work permit or a study permit to either country, you must still meet the above permanent residence status requirement.
Admissibility Requirements to the US and Canada
Regardless of your country of citizenship, you must be admissible to both Canada and the USA in order to be eligible for FAST membership.The two countries have different laws that govern admissibility of visitors and immigrants.
Admissibility to the United States of America
Canadian citizens and permanent residents could be inadmissible to the US (i.e. ineligible for a FAST Card and ineligible to enter the US) for one of the following reasons:
- Health Related Grounds:
- Communicable diseases of public health significance. This currently includes Class A Tuberculosis, Chancroid, Gonorrhea, Granuloma inguinale, Lymphogranuloma venereum, Syphilis, Leprosy or any other communicable disease as determined by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
- Refusal of required vaccinations
- Physical or Mental Disorders and Associated Harmful Behaviours
- Criminal and Related Violations:
- Crimes involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offence).
- A controlled substance violation according to the laws and regulations of any country or U.S. state.
- Two or more summary convictions not including DUIs, Dangerous Driving or General Assault, or 1 Indictable conviction.
- Prostitution and commercialized vice.
- A serious criminal activity for which immunity from prosecution has been received.
- Security and Related Violations:
- spies, saboteurs or terrorists
- voluntary members of Communist or other totalitarian parties
- Persons inadmissible under Section 212(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act have:
- been involved in a current or past terrorist group
- contributed finances to a current or past terrorist group
- relatives whom are or have been involved in a current or past terrorist group
- provided medical assistance to a past or current terrorist
- been child soldiers, sex slaves, or trafficked persons forced to contribute to a current or past terrorist group
- been forced to aid a past or current terrorist group
- Illegal Entrants and Immigration Violators
- Miscellaneous grounds:
- practicing polygamists
- guardians accompanying helpless aliens
- International child abductors and relatives supporting abductors
- Former U.S. citizens found by the Attorney General to have renounced citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxation (the currently-unenforced Reed Amendment)
American law is different from Canadian law in that American law lays out specific instances of inadmissibility whereas Canadian law leaves much open to discretion (see below).
Admissibility to Canada
In order to be admissible to Canada, American citizens and permanent residents must not
- be a security risk,
- have committed human or international rights violations,
- have been convicted of a crime, or you have committed an act outside Canada that would be a crime (see below),
- have ties to organized crime,
- have a serious health problem,
- have a serious financial problem,
- lied on any Canadian immigration application or during a Canadian immigration interview,
have otherwise violated Canada’s immigration law, or
- have immediate family members who are not allowed into Canada.
If you have a criminal record you are ineligible for FAST membership no matter how minor the crime, even if that crime wouldn’t be severe enough to make you inadmissible to either Canada or the US. The eligibility standard is higher for the Free and Secure Trade Program.
However, if you have received a Record Suspension (in Canada) or been pardoned (in the US), you may be eligible to get a FAST Card. The burden of proof is entirely on you to prove to both the CBSA and US CBP that you have reformed your criminal past. Free and Secure Trade membership is granted entirely at the discretion of the CBSA and CBP officers reviewing your application.
There is only one way to discover whether or not these agencies are willing to grant you FAST membership, and that is to apply and risk refusal.
Customs Requirements for FAST Users
In order to be eligible for FAST membership, you can’t have violated any customs regulations of either the USA or Canada no matter how minor. Just like with a criminal conviction, if you have a customs violation on your record, it is up to you to prove that you are “reformed.”
The FAST Card Application
As part of the application, you will attest that you are eligible for the Free and Secure Trade program. Then, at the interview, you will be asked questions which will be used to verify the information you provided on your application. If it is discovered that information on your application is inaccurate or dishonest, your application will be refused.
Other Requirements for the FAST Card Program
The Free and Secure Trade Card program is a privilege, not a right. CBSA or US CBP can deny you membership for any reason whatsoever. If an officer suspects you have not met one or more of the requirements, your application will be refused.