NEXUS (frequent traveler program)

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NEXUS logo

NEXUS (formerly frequent traveler program and currently part of Trusted Traveler Program) is a joint Canada-United States program designed to let pre-approved, low-risk travelers cross the Canada–U.S. border quickly. Members of the program can avoid long waits at border entry points by using self-serve kiosks at airports, reserved lanes at land crossings, or by phoning border officials when entering by water. The program is operated by the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. A NEXUS membership card is a valid document under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Eligibility[edit]

To qualify for the program, an applicant must be a citizen of Canada or the United States, or a permanent resident. Previously, there was a requirement to have resided in either country for three years, but this has since been removed to allow Canadian and American citizens living abroad and those who have recently returned to apply for NEXUS.[1][2] Applicants must also be legally admissible to both nations, must have complied with immigration and customs regulations during previous travel, and must also have a criminal history check. Additionally, if the applicant is under 18, both parents must provide their written consent.[3][4]

Application process[edit]

Sample NEXUS card

NEXUS applications can be submitted online via the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website or a paper application, processed by the Canada Border Services Agency. The application fee is $50 USD or CAD, which is waived for applicants under the age of 18.

Applicants are screened for citizenship and immigration status, checked for criminal history and positive matches on U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), United Nations, and Interpol terrorism and no-fly list databases and United Kingdom Police National Computer.[citation needed] Applicants who pass the initial screening are interviewed in person by agents of both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency (typically one right after the other).

Members receive a RFID-enabled NEXUS card, valid for five years from the applicant's birthday following card issuance. Renewal typically takes place six months prior to expiration, and members may be required to attend another interview to verify that they still qualify for the program. Delivering on their commitment to streamline the membership renewal process for the NEXUS program, CBP and CBSA will waive the interview for members who have not had changes to their information and have maintained their low-risk status. The United States and Canada also announced they have begun enrollment blitzes to expedite the processing of NEXUS applications and have launched an outreach and awareness plan to increase membership in NEXUS.

Use at land crossings[edit]

NEXUS cardholders are generally screened more quickly at the border, however they are still subject to standard immigration and customs checks, and may be selected for secondary screening. Participating border crossing points typically have one lane solely reserved for NEXUS use and some will also designate a second lane for NEXUS use on an as needed basis. A vehicle can only use the NEXUS lane if all passengers (including children) hold a valid NEXUS card, and nothing requiring a special customs declaration or payment of duty is being brought into the country (see below).

A NEXUS lane at the U.S. side of the Ambassador Bridge.

Items permitted in a NEXUS lane[edit]

  • Alcohol within a traveler's personal entitlement (must be out of country of residence for 48 hours)
  • Tobacco products that are marked "Canada-Duty Paid"
  • Gifts up to $60 each (into Canada) or up to $100 total (into the United States)
  • Any reasonable amounts of personal effects

Items prohibited in a NEXUS lane[edit]

Certain restricted and sensitive items cannot be brought through a NEXUS lane. Examples include:

  • Cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos or loose tobacco that is not marked "Canada-Duty Paid"
  • Commercial or durable goods
  • Firearms (legal to import, but specific paperwork must be filled out and a secondary inspection is usually required)
  • Agricultural products (with limited exceptions for processed and locally grown foods in season)
  • $10,000 or more in cash or bearer instruments

Members are advised to inquire ahead of time with the appropriate authorities, and if in doubt, to use a standard lane. It is important to note that nearly every lane crossing in either direction, and at all ports of entry, a Nexus member can use their Nexus card as proof of citizenship.

U.S.–Mexico Border[edit]

NEXUS members who are citizens of the United States may utilize SENTRI lanes when entering the US from Mexico by land, but must be traveling in an approved, registered vehicle[5] (SENTRI requires members to register their vehicles into the program, which involves a thorough inspection by CBP, whereas NEXUS has no such requirement). Regardless of whether in an approved vehicle or not, the NEXUS card is a WHTI compliant document, and may be used in any standard lane from Mexico into the US as proof of identity and citizenship. Pedestrians can use dedicated SENTRI lines for expedited entry into the U.S. from Tijuana at the San Ysidro border crossing.

U.S. Global Entry[edit]

Main article: Global Entry

Canadian and USA citizens can use their NEXUS membership at Global Entry kiosks in the United States for expedited clearance at Global Entry equipped airports in the United States and US CBP Preclearance facilities. The Global Entry kiosks are located at the 20 busiest U.S. international airports by international passenger traffic. To use the Global Entry kiosks, a valid, machine readable passport is necessary. Travelers are not required to use the NEXUS card in the kiosk, but are advised it is prudent to carry it on person. There is no additional cost to use Global Entry, and it can be used for the duration of the NEXUS membership.

TSA PreCheck[edit]

US and Canadian citizens, who are NEXUS members, may use TSA PreCheck on all participating airlines for domestic US flights by entering their Customs and Border Protection PASS ID / Trusted Traveler number from their NEXUS card into their flight reservation information or into their frequent flyer account.

Use at airports[edit]

All NEXUS members must carry a valid passport in addition to their NEXUS card when entering the United States or Canada. Failure to show a passport on demand of an immigration officer can mean immediate revocation of NEXUS membership.[citation needed]

NEXUS members entering Canada may use a NEXUS machine to declare, as long as the member's irises are on file with the CBSA. If the member's irises are not on file, or the NEXUS machines are not working, NEXUS members may use the Special Services desk. NEXUS members entering Canada must still fill out a customs declaration card. NEXUS allows travelers flying from many Canadian airports, even on domestic flights, to bypass the regular security screening line and use an expedited trusted traveler line.[6]

NEXUS members entering the United States, either at preclearance facilities or by landing in the US, can use the Global Entry kiosks as long as the member's fingerprints are on file. Those using a Global Entry kiosk don't need to fill out a customs declaration card. If the member needs to see an immigration officer, they get front-of-line privileges (as with all Global Entry members). NEXUS members, who are US or Canadian citizens, can participate in TSA Precheck as long as their member number is in their airline reservation.

Legal status of NEXUS card[edit]

In the United States, a trusted traveler card such as NEXUS is a valid secured document under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and may be used by itself to reenter the United States from Canada, including by air. Although the card creates a presumption of nationality, neither US nor Canadian law view the NEXUS card as full proof of citizenship. NEXUS cards issued after September 2010 are accepted as proof of citizenship (if the card holder is a citizen of either country) and the traveler is no longer required to carry the passport (if traveling by land only - airport documentation checks can and do require presentation of a passport in addition to the NEXUS card in the event of a secondary inspection).

NEXUS and FAST membership cards will now be accepted as proof of identity and as documents that denote citizenship when entering Canada at all land and marine ports of entry. This means that citizens of Canada and the United States who are NEXUS or FAST members, and are carrying with them valid membership cards, are no longer required to carry other supplementary documents such as passports or birth certificates with them when entering Canada by boat or by land, when using non-NEXUS or non-FAST lanes.[7]

NEXUS and FAST members who are not citizens of Canada or the United States are still required to travel with a passport and proof of permanent residence, and may be requested to present these documents to a border services officer upon arrival at the border.

NEXUS members using the air mode of transportation can enter Canada using the self-serve kiosks regardless of where they are coming from. For example, a NEXUS member returning to Canada from overseas and arriving in Montréal can use the self-serve kiosk in Montréal.[8]

Locations at which NEXUS is available[edit]

Airports[edit]

Land crossings[edit]

Marine crossings[edit]

NEXUS members can report to approximately 450 sites.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]