NEXUS is a program run jointly by the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) and CBP (United States Customs and Border Patrol). The aim of the program is to promote tourism, trade, and the movement of goods and people between the US and Canada. The two government agencies are working together in this venture to ease passage into both the United States and Canada for low-risk, pre-approved travelers.
NEXUS members are able to enter both these countries easily and quickly by air, sea, or land by utilizing one of a large number of self-service kiosks at several designated airports. They also enjoy rapid processing when phoning a TRC (Telephone Reporting Center) before their arrival by boat – and they can use specially demarcated processing lanes at a number of partaking land border crossings.
Criteria To Qualify For NEXUS
To take part in the NEXUS program you have to be a permanent resident or citizen of the United States or Canada or a citizen of Mexico who is also a member of the program known as Viajero Confiable.
A permanent resident of the United States or Canada must have lived full-time as a legal resident of one of these countries for at least three years before he or she can submit a NEXUS application. There are certain circumstances under which permanent U.S. or Canadian residents could be exempted from the 3-year residency requirement.
Applicants must also be admissible to the United States and Canada under the relevant immigrant legislation, successfully go through background security checks carried out by both these countries, and meet the rest of the requirements for NEXUS.
In order to be approved, an applicant will have to go through an interview at a designated NEXUS Enrollment Center and pass law enforcement screenings by both Canada and the United States. Your application may be rejected if it is discovered that you provided incomplete or false information or that:
- You have a criminal record.
- You have one or more outstanding warrants.
- A law enforcement agency is currently investigating you.
- You have violated agriculture, immigration, or custom-related legislation.
What you should know before using a third-party to apply for NEXUS
There is no reason why you should use a third party to help you if you want to submit a NEXUS application. Having a third party submit an application on your behalf will most likely just cause extra expenses over and above the normal $50 processing fee that applies to all NEXUS applications except for children under 18, who do not have to pay anything.
Summary Of NEXUS Benefits
Being approved for NEXUS comes with several benefits, including the following:
With an approved NEXUS you will be able to save time and avoid long queues because you can:
- Use the self-service automated NEXUS kiosks at nine large international Canadian airports or the Global Entry kiosks if you want to enter the United States.
- Enjoy accelerated clearance via security screening lines at a number of selected medium-sized and large Canadian airports.
- Experience accelerated clearance via the special Pre-Check lines of the United States Transport Security Administration at more than 200 American airports that take part in the program.
When you arrive in Canada by boat, you will be able to report to a special TRC (Telephone Reporting Center) by phone before your arrival at any one of over 450 marine sites throughout Canada.
You will also be able to pass through a much simpler entry procedure by making use of the assigned vehicle lanes at any one of the 21 selected land border crossings.
On top of that, your NEXUS card can also be used instead of a passport when traveling from the US to Canada or vice versa. If you are traveling from Canada to the US by air, you will only be able to use your NEXUS card at airports in Canada where there is a US preclearance zone. If that is not the case, you will still need to have your passport ready.
How To Apply For NEXUS
Travelers who would like to take part in the NEXUS program will have to submit an application via the TTP (Trusted Traveler Program) website. If you are not able or interested to apply online, you can also fax or mail your application to the CPC (Canadian Customs Processing Center). The CBSA website has a comprehensive list of mailing locations. To view a list of the designated land border crossings, please visit cbp.gov and click on NEXUS Land Border Crossings.
How Are NEXUS Applications Processed?
Your NEXUS Application will be processed by TTP (the United States Customs Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program System). The first step in the approval process will be a security check. If you pass this, you will have to attend a personal interview at one of the joint Canada-US NEXUS enrolment centers. At this interview your fingerprints will be taken, you will be photographed, and you will have to through an iris scan.
Applicants who have submitted an application via CBSA will have to create an online TTP account which is then linked to the PASSID. Note that despite the name, this does not refer to your passport number, it is your membership number. Once this has been done, you can proceed to set up an interview and activate your NEXUS card.
Who Will Benefit From A NEXUS Card?
Although the Canadian NEXUS card shares several features with its American Global Entry counterpart, it will most likely be a better choice for anyone who:
- Frequently travels between the two countries by both air and land.
- Does not own a credit card that offers travel rewards such as refunding the Global Entry membership fees. Global Entry costs twice as much as NEXUS, so for individuals who are carrying the cost themselves, NEXUS will be the better option.
- Regularly travels with kids. NEXUS doesn’t cost anything for children/teenagers under the age of 18. The US Global Entry, however, costs $100, irrespective of the applicant’s age.
For Whom Will The Nexus Card Not Be the Best Possible Option?
One of the main reasons you might decide to rather skip the NEXUS card option is that the application process always involves a personal interview – and these interviews are only conducted at a relatively small number of locations such as land border crossings between the US and Canada and specific Canadian airports.
If you are going to find it difficult to get to one of these interview locations, there might be better options for you than the NEXUS.
Flying to Canada With Your NEXUS Card
Irrespective of where they are coming from, NEXUS members are able to fly into Canada by making use of one of the NEXUS self-service booths at an approved airport. There is no need for them to fill out a paper DBSA Declaration Card when using one of these kiosks.
Entering Canada By Land With Your NEXUS Card
At the time of writing, NEXUS can be used at 21 land border crossings between the US and Canada. The process involves the following steps:
- Find your way to the NEXUS lane. Get your NEXUS card ready and point it at the proximity card reader.
- Next head to the inspection booth where a visual inspection will be carried out. The border officer will decide whether you can directly proceed to Canada or have to go into the inspection area.
Individuals who are entering Canada or the US in the company of people who are not NEXUS members will have to use the regular lanes. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that everyone in the vehicle is a NEXUS member, irrespective of their age. If it is discovered that anybody in the vehicle is not a NEXUS member, the driver will lose his or her NEXUS membership.
Entering Canada By Boat With a Nexus Card
It is the duty of the boat master to do the following:
Call the Nexus TRC (Telephone Reporting Center) ahead of arrival.
Inform the CBSA of the boat’s arrival between 30 minutes and 4 hours before the time.
Provide the TRC with the following information:
- When the boat is expected to arrive
- The location and name of the arrival site
- The boat’s name and/or registration number
- The names, birthdates, and countries of permanent residence or citizenship of every NEXUS member on the boat
- The visa and passport details of passengers when required
- The purpose of the visit, the destination, and the duration of stay in Canada for all passengers
- Information regarding goods and currencies on the boat
The boat master must also make sure that every passenger has proof of permanent residence status, citizenship, or other immigration status, and a photo ID.
The Bottom Line About NEXUS Cards
The NEXUS card is an excellent choice for individuals who often travel between the US and Canada. Apart from coming with similar benefits as its American Global Entry counterpart, a NEXUS card involves a smaller cash layout – plus you will be able to use it for both overland and air travel between the two countries.