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      NEXUS Trusted Traveler Program Guide 2020 – Cost, Locations & Tips

      Phil Dengler
      NEXUS Trusted Traveler Program Guide Enrollment Airports Locations

      Those traveling often between the United States and Canada are in luck. NEXUS allows you to expedite the process of entering both countries while also enjoying other benefits like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. Becoming a member requires a $50 non-refundable application fee, but it may pay for itself after just a few trips.

      Here is what you need to know about the NEXUS Trusted Traveler Program.

      Officially launched in 2002, NEXUS is a joint program run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Its purpose is to expedite entry for low-risk and pre-approved travelers through customs when entering the United States and Canada via air, land, and sea.

      It is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and Mexican nationals who are also members of Viajero Confiable. In addition to a background check, you will be interviewed by CBP and CBSA officers. The United States and Canada must both approve your application.

      NEXUS is one of the five United States Trusted Traveler Programs along with Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, SENTRI, and FAST.

      NEXUS Benefits

      NEXUS Trusted Traveler Program Air Land Sea

      Photo: Canada Border Services Agency

      Out of the five Trusted Traveler Programs, NEXUS has the most number of benefits. Here is what you get if you become a member.

      Global Entry Access When Flying Into The United States

      NEXUS members have full access to Global Entry benefits. By itself, Global Entry costs $100 for five years, so this is a great deal. With Global Entry, NEXUS members enjoy expedited entry through customs when returning to the United States.

      TSA PreCheck Access When Flying From a United States Airport

      Since TSA PreCheck is included with Global Entry, certain NEXUS members also have access to PreCheck lanes when flying from United States airports. To access PreCheck lanes, simply enter your PASSID in the Known Traveler Number Field when booking your airline reservation. You should also enter your PASSID in your Frequent Flyer Profile so it automatically fills it in for future bookings. Only U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and Canadian citizens are eligible to receive PreCheck through NEXUS. Children 12 and under can use PreCheck lanes with you even if they are not NEXUS members.

      The Vacationer Tip

      Sign up for NEXUS to get all of the benefits of Global Entry and TSA PreCheck while also enjoying expedited entry into Canada.

      NEXUS Kiosks When Flying Into Canada

      After arriving to Canada by air, NEXUS members can use a self-service kiosk to verify their identity and answer a few questions. These lines are usually much shorter than the traditional ones, so the border clearance process will be quicker. After completing the process, collect the printed receipt and show it to the border agent on the way out.

      Trusted Traveller CATSA Security Line Access When Flying From a Canadian Airport

      NEXUS members have access to expedited security screenings at 16 Canadian airports. For those from the United States, it is similar to TSA PreCheck. You can keep your shoes, light jacket, and belt on as well as leave small items in your pocket. You may leave approved liquids in your carry-on bags. Members must remove laptops or other computing devices from their carry-on bag, however. You must have your NEXUS card to access the special security lanes.

      Dedicated NEXUS Lanes For Land Entry Into The United States and Canada

      With Global Entry, you can only access NEXUS lanes when driving into the United States from Canada. With NEXUS, you can access the special lanes when driving into the United States and Canada for faster entry into both countries.

      Expedited Sea Access Via Telephone Reporting

      NEXUS allows those arriving by sea to call a marine telephone reporting center upon arrival to the United States or Canada. This must be done at least 30 minutes in advance of your arrival.

      How Much Does NEXUS Cost?

      NEXUS has a $50 non-refundable application fee. Even if you are denied, you will not get the $50 back. Every member of your traveling party must be a NEXUS member to use the service, including children. Those under the age of 18 do not have to pay an application fee.

      You may pay the $50 application fee via credit card or electronic bank transfer before completing your application. Previously, Canadian Processing Centers accepted paper applications, but it is online-only now. If accepted, your membership will be valid for five years.

      The Vacationer Tip

      If you have an eligible credit card, consider signing up for Global Entry instead of NEXUS. Eligible cards reimburse the full $100 Global Entry application fee. If you do not travel to Canada often, Global Entry provides all of the same benefits as NEXUS.

      Credit Cards Offering Reimbursement For The $50 Application Fee:

      For eligible credit card holders, one of the main draws of TSA PreCheck and Global Entry is the application fee reimbursement. Those applying for Global Entry receive a $100 reimbursement, while those applying for TSA PreCheck receive an $85 reimbursement.

      Unfortunately, there are no credit cards currently reimbursing NEXUS application fees.

      NEXUS Eligibility

      NEXUS is for low-risk U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and Mexican nationals (Viajero Confiable members). Proof of citizenship and residence are required for approval. Children under the age of 18 require parental consent to be eligible.

      Permanent Legal Resident Information

      To apply as a permanent resident from the United States or Canada, you must have had your status for at least three years from the date of your application. Here are three exceptions to the three-year rule.

      • You are serving in the United States armed forces in a foreign country
      • You have a family member in the United States or Canadian armed forces serving in a foreign country
      • You have a family member serving at a United States or Canadian consular post or diplomatic mission in a foreign country

      Reasons for Ineligibility

      Reasons for ineligibility include the following.

      • Lying on the application or intentionally omitting information
      • Found guilty of a criminal offense or have pending charges or warrants
      • Found to have violated customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws
      • Under investigation by law enforcement
      • Inadmissible to the United States under immigration regulation
      • Cannot prove to the CBP and CBSA that you are a low-risk applicant

      Criminal offenses include drinking and driving. As the Canada Safety Council reports, Canada has some of the strictest drinking and driving laws in the world. Depending on the date and your BAC level, it may be difficult to get approved if you have a DUI on your record. Even if the United States approves your application, Canada may deny it.

      The Vacationer

      Be completely truthful and transparent when filling out your NEXUS application. You will be going through a thorough background check, so officers from the United States and Canada will find any lies or omissions.

      NEXUS Enrollment Centers

      All of the NEXUS enrollment centers are located near the United States/Canada border. Agents from both countries are located at each enrollment center, so you only need to schedule one interview. Here are the locations currently accepting interviews.

      United States Locations

      United States NEXUS Enrollment Centers
      LocationLocation Information
      Blaine, WashingtonLand
      Calais, MaineLand
      Champlain, New YorkLand
      Derby Line, VermontLand
      International Falls, MinnesotaLand
      Pembina, North DakotaLand
      Sault Ste. Marie, MichiganLand
      Sweetgrass, MontanaLand
      Warroad, MinnesotaLand

      Canada Locations

      Canada NEXUS Enrollment Centers
      LocationLocation Information
      Belleville, New BrunswickLand
      Calgary, AlbertaAirport
      Edmonton, AlbertaAirport
      Enfield, Nova ScotiaAirport
      Fort Erie, OntarioLand
      Lansdowne, OntarioLand
      Mississauga, OntarioAirport
      Montreal, QuebecAirport
      Ottawa, OntarioAirport
      Richmond, British ColumbiaAirport
      Vancouver, British ColumbiaLand
      Winnipeg, ManitobaAirport

      Applying for NEXUS

      Applying for NEXUS is simple, but you should gather a few documents beforehand. The application process should take you around 20 minutes, and payment is due before submitting your application. Remember, only U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and Mexican nationals may apply.

      The entire process from filling out the application to getting your NEXUS card after getting approved varies. Depending on the backlog, it can take as little as a few weeks to as long as six months. In some situations, it could take longer than six months. If you are truthful on your application and do not have a criminal history, it should be quicker.

      Required Documents

      Proof of United States or Canadian Citizenship

      • Valid United States or Canadian Passport
      • United States or Canadian Birth Certificate and Photo Identification
      • United States Citizen Certificate or Canadian Citizen Certificate/Card
      • Certificate of Naturalization or Border Crossing Card (U.S Only)
      • Certificate of Indian Status (Canada Only)

      Proof of United States or Canadian Permanent Resident Status

      • Valid United States or Canadian Permanent Resident Card
      • Record of Landing (Canada Only)

      For Mexican Nationals

      • Must be a member of Viajero Confiable
      • Valid Passport
      • If applicable, a valid work or study permit

      Proof of Current Residency (1 is needed)

      • Valid and Unexpired Driver’s License
      • Bill or Bank Statement Showing Current Address
      • Federal ID
      • Provincial ID

      Fill Out The Application Online

      After gathering the necessary documents, go to the Trusted Travelers Program website. In the programs list, find NEXUS and click Get Started.

      NEXUS Application First Step

      Photo: Department of Homeland Security

      If you do not already have one, create a Trusted Travelers Account. Fill out your profile with basic information such as your name, date of birth, country of birth, and phone number. It is important to enter your name exactly how it appears on your passport.

      Verify your citizenship, and choose NEXUS in the Available Programs area. As previously discussed, it will show the following requirements necessary for approval.

      • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency Approval
      • Interview at an enrollment center at a United States/Canada land border or a major airport in Canada. You will be interviewed by both countries.

      After agreeing to a background check, you can begin filling out the NEXUS application. It is important to be truthful and transparent. Lying on the application will get you denied.

      You will enter your gender, eye color, height, and any other names you may have previously used. After filling out basic details, you will then add documents to prove your citizenship and proof you can enter the United States.

      NEXUS Application Citizenship Proof Enter United States

      Photo: Department of Homeland Security

      Continue filling out the application by entering your driver’s license information, current and previous addresses, employment information, travel history, and a few background questions. You will be asked whether or not you have been convicted of a crime in any country and not received a pardon. You will also be asked whether or not you have received a waiver of inadmissibility to the U.S. from a U.S. government agency. Again, be honest when answering these questions.

      Review your application for accuracy. If everything looks good, click continue and pay the $50 non-refundable application fee.

      Conditional Approval and Scheduling Your Interview

      Conditional approval times vary considerably depending on the applicant and the number of other applications. Some people are conditionally approved in less than a week, while others are not approved for many months. After you are conditionally approved, you will receive an email alert. Your Trusted Travelers Account will note you are conditionally approved, and you will be able to schedule an interview. You cannot schedule an interview until you receive conditional approval. After conditional approval, you will have 30 days to schedule your interview.

      There are a variety of locations in the United States and Canada to schedule your interview. As this is a joint program run by the CBP and CBSA, all of the enrollment centers are located near the northern border. Both the CBP and the CBSA will interview you, so you do not need to schedule separate interviews.

      Children under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian with them during their interview.

      Interview Tips

      The interview is to verify the accuracy of your information and documents. You have already been conditionally approved at this point, so try not to stress too much. Be sure to bring all of the documents you used when originally applying to verify your citizenship, residency, and proof of address. It is better to be over-prepared in this case.

      During the interview, you will be asked a variety of questions. Depending on the complexity of your application, it may take only a few minutes or it may take a half-hour or longer. Here are a few common questions you may be asked.

      • Why are you applying for a NEXUS card?
      • Where have you traveled recently?
      • What do you do for work?
      • Has any of the personal information changed since submitting your application?
      • Have you ever brought something you should not have when crossing the border?
      • Have you been convicted of any crimes?
      • Will you be using your NEXUS card for business use as well as personal travel?

      If approved, the officer(s) will take a digital photograph of you. They will also take your fingerprints and take a photograph of your irises for identification when using the kiosks. While iris recognition technology is still used, it is being replaced by facial recognition technology. They will explain how to use your NEXUS card to enter the United States and Canada.

      Using Your NEXUS Card

      NEXUS Trusted Travelers Program ID Card

      Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

      The NEXUS card is your ticket to accessing all of the benefits the program has to offer. It is a radio frequency identification card that is also WHTI compliant. Additionally, it is considered a REAL ID, so you can use it to fly if you do not have a compliant driver’s license yet. Please note, you cannot use NEXUS if you are entering Canada with $10,000 or more. Here is how to use it to travel between the United States and Canada via air, land, and sea.

      Air Entry

      Entering the United States:

      If you are entering the United States by air from a Canadian airport with a U.S. preclearance area, you may use your NEXUS card. You can do this by using your NEXUS card at the Global Entry kiosk in the preclearance area.

      If you are flying from a Canadian airport without a U.S. preclearance area or any other airport in the world, you must use your passport or permanent resident card at the Global Entry kiosks. NEXUS members entering the United States may only have personal items and no commercial goods. See our Global Entry guide for a full list of United States airports with kiosks. Here are Canadian airports with U.S. preclearance areas.

      • Calgary International Airport (YYC)
      • Edmonton International Airport (YEG)
      • Halifax Robert L Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)
      • Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
      • Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW)
      • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
      • Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
      • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG)

      Entering Canada:

      NEXUS members entering Canada by air may use the NEXUS kiosks with their card. Remember, only NEXUS members can use the kiosks (that includes children). U.S. lawful permanent residents and Mexican nationals must have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to use NEXUS when entering Canada by air. You do not have to complete a paper CBSA declaration form when using a NEXUS kiosk. A photograph of your iris must be in the system to use NEXUS kiosks. The following Canadian airports currently have NEXUS kiosks.

      • Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ)
      • Calgary International Airport (YYC)
      • Edmonton International Airport (YEG)
      • Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)
      • Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
      • Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW)
      • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
      • Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
      • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG)

      Land Entry

      NEXUS Land Border Locations:

      Please note, one or more of the lanes listed may be United States or Canada bound only.

      Current Land Border Crossing in The United States and Canada
      United StatesCanada
      Alexandria Bay, NYLansdowne, ON
      Blaine, WAPacific Highway, BC
      Blaine (Douglas / Peace Arch), WASurrey (Douglas / Peace Arch), BC
      Buffalo (Peace Bridge), NYFort Erie (Peace Bridge), ON
      Calais, MESt. Stephen, NB
      Champlain, NYSt. Bernard-de-Lacolle, QC
      Derby Line, VTStanstead, QC
      Detroit (Ambassador Bridge), MIWindsor (Ambassador Bridge), ON
      Detroit (Detroit-Windsor Tunnel), MIWindsor (Detroit-Windsor Tunnel), ON
      Highgate Springs, VTSt. Armand-Philipsburg, QC
      Houlton, MEWoodstock, NB
      International Falls, MNFort Frances, ON
      Lynden, WAAldergrove, BC
      Niagara Falls (Queenston/Lewiston Bridge), NYNiagara Falls (Queenston/Lewiston Bridge), ON
      Niagara Falls (Whirlpool-Rapids Bridge), NYNiagara Falls (Whirlpool-Rapids Bridge), ON
      Pembina, NDEmerson, MB
      Point Roberts, WABoundary Bay, BC
      Port Huron (Blue Water Bridge), MISarnia (Blue Water Bridge), ON
      Sault Ste. Marie, MISault Ste. Marie, ON
      Sumas, WAAbbotsford-Huntingdon, BC
      Sweetgrass, MTCoutts, AB

      Entering the United States from Canada:

      Use the special NEXUS lane to enter the United States at one of the land border crossings. Simply hold your NEXUS card in front of the card reader. You will then undergo a visual inspection. All personal goods will be orally declared to a CBP officer.

      The Vacationer Tip

      Ensure every person in your vehicle is a NEXUS member if you are using the special lane to enter the United States or Canada. If someone is not a NEXUS member — and that includes children — you risk losing your membership.

      Entering Canada from the United States:

      Use the special NEXUS lane to enter Canada at one of 21 land border crossings. Hold your NEXUS card in front of the card reader. After a visual inspection, the officer will either allow you to enter Canada or make you undergo further inspection. Ensure every person in your vehicle is a NEXUS member.

      United States and Mexican NEXUS members may make an oral declaration when entering Canada. Canadian residents may use a Traveller Declaration Card (TDC). If you have commercial goods or goods that may be restricted or require a permit, you may not use the NEXUS lane. You cannot use the NEXUS lane if you have over $10,000 in currency.

      Entering the United States from Mexico:

      NEXUS members can use SENTRI lanes to enter the United States from Mexico. Only registered and approved vehicles are allowed to use the SENTRI lanes, however. You can add your vehicle to your Trusted Traveler Account for a $42 fee if you did not add it when you initially applied for a NEXUS membership.

      Sea Entry

      Use your NEXUS membership to access one of the over 400 marine reporting sites when entering the United States or Canada. If you are in charge of the boat, you are considered the boat master. You will communicate with the border officers as well as declare everyone’s goods. Every single person on your boat must be a NEXUS member to use a marine reporting site, and that includes children.

      You must report your arrival via phone at least 30 minutes and no longer than four hours in advance. Those entering the United States should use this list to find the phone number to use. Those entering Canada should call 1 866-99-NEXUS.

      The boat master must report the following information.

      • Name, citizenship information, residency, DOB of everyone on board.
      • The boat’s ETA
      • The boat’s name and registration number
      • The boat’s landing site and location of arrival
      • Purpose and length of the trip for each passenger
      • Passport and Visa details for each passenger

      As the boat master, you should have everyone’s photo identification and proof of citizenship/residency. You are also responsible for declaring goods and currency.

      The Vacationer Tip

      NEXUS cards are a WHTI compliant document. This means it can be used by U.S. citizens in place of a passport to enter the United States from any country within the Western Hemisphere. It is also a REAL ID.

      NEXUS Vs. Global Entry

      Global Entry is a popular program for low-risk travelers to expedite entry through customs when returning to the United States via air, land, and sea. It has a $100 application fee, but many credit cards provide full reimbursement. It also includes TSA PreCheck, which is one of the program’s main benefits.

      NEXUS includes Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, but it does have a few drawbacks. While cheaper, its $50 application fee is not reimbursed by any credit cards. NEXUS also only has enrollment centers near the border. Global Entry has enrollment centers throughout the United States, which makes it a more realistic option for those living in southern states.

      Global Entry allows access by land into the United States via NEXUS and SENTRI lanes, but it does not allow expedited access to Canada. NEXUS provides its members with expedited land access to both countries, which is important for those who drive back and forth often.

      If you live near the northern border and travel to Canada often, we recommend NEXUS. If you do not see yourself traveling to Canada or just cannot get to an enrollment center, Global Entry is a great alternative. Either way, both programs can help to relieve travel-related stress and anxiety when flying into the United States and Canada.

      FAQ

      How much does a NEXUS membership cost?

      NEXUS has a $50 non-refundable application fee. No credits cards currently reimburse the application fee. Children under 18 are not subject to the application fee.

      How long will my NEXUS membership be valid for?

      NEXUS memberships are valid for five years after which you can renew for another five years. You should begin the renewal process 90 days prior to your expiration date.

      Does NEXUS include Global Entry and TSA PreCheck privileges?

      Yes. NEXUS members can take advantage of expedited entry into the United States via air with Global Entry and expedited security screenings when flying from a United States airport with TSA PreCheck. Only U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and Canadian citizens are eligible for TSA PreCheck, however.

      Who can apply for a NEXUS membership?

      U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and Mexican nationals (Viajero Confiable members)

      Does a NEXUS membership guarantee expedited entry and security screenings?

      No. NEXUS members may be subject to additional screenings and inspection.

      Can I apply for a NEXUS membership via mail?

      Paper applications are no longer accepted. You must apply online.

      I lost my NEXUS card. How much is a replacement?

      $25

      Can I travel with non-NEXUS members?

      To use NEXUS lanes, everyone in your party must be a member.

      How do I find my NEXUS membership number?

      Your membership number is located on the back of your NEXUS card. You can also find it in the upper right corner of your online Trusted Travelers Account.

      Can domestic pets go through NEXUS lanes?

      Most pets are allowed to go through NEXUS lanes. For animals over three months old, you must have your pet’s rabies vaccination certificate with you. It must identify the animal as well as include information about the vaccine used. Pet birds and animals used for commercial purposes may not use NEXUS lanes.

      Is a NEXUS card a REAL ID?

      Yes. NEXUS cards are REAL IDs accepted by the TSA.

      What are situations where I cannot use my NEXUS membership to cross the border?

      You cannot use NEXUS airport kiosks, go through NEXUS land border lanes, or use NEXUS marine crossings with non-members. You also cannot use NEXUS if you are crossing the border with $10,000 in currency or other monetary instruments.

      The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts + Cheat Sheet

      NEXUS Trusted Traveler Program Cheat Sheet

      Photo: Department of Homeland Security

      We recommend NEXUS to those looking for expedited entry into Canada while also desiring the benefits of Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. No credit cards currently cover the $50 application fee, but it is well worth the $10 per year if you are a frequent traveler. The potential drawback is enrollment centers are only located near the United States and Canada border, so take that in mind before applying.

      Featured Image via U.S. Customs and Border Protection

      Phil Dengler The Vacationer Bio

      By Phil Dengler

      In addition to being a co-founder of The Vacationer, Phil Dengler is also the head of editorial and marketing. Previously, he ran a popular holiday deals website where he was a trusted source for all things Black Friday. With The Vacationer, Phil combines his knowledge of deals with his love of travel to help you plan the perfect vacation.