I travel to Canada a few times each month as I work to help Canadian companies expand their business into the U.S. This November, I’m heading to Montreal to meet with companies through AmCham Quebec for a program focusing on business opportunities in the State of New York for Quebec companies; the following week I’ll be engaging companies at Select USA in Toronto; and finally on November 23rd I’ll participate in the Ontario Export Awards in Mississauga. With all this travel, waiting bumper to bumper to cross the border is not the best use of time- and that’s why I have the NEXUS pass. NEXUS program is designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travelers into Canada and the United States.
For $50, I now zip through the NEXUS Lane. The only catch? All those traveling in the car with me also need to be NEXUS pass holders. Any citizen or permanent resident of Canada or the United States can apply for a NEXUS pass. The process takes about six weeks and, if you’re approved (after risk assessment and interviews by border protection officials of both countries), the pass is valid for five years.
Following are details about the NEXUS pass that can help get you zipping across the border, just like me:
What is NEXUS?
The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the U.S. and Canada. Program members use dedicated processing lanes at designated northern border ports of entry, NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada by air, and Global Entry kiosks when entering the U.S. via Canadian preclearance airports. NEXUS members also receive expedited processing at marine reporting locations.
In addition to designated process lanes, the NEXUS card is a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) complaint travel document and can be used in any primary lane. The more travelers participating in the NEXUS program, the greater the benefit to overall border wait times. By having advanced traveler information, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is able to reduce inspection times in the NEXUS lanes. Greater participation in this program further reduces overall border wait times at the local crossings by allowing more cars to be processed per hour without increasing the infrastructure.
How Does the NEXUS Program Work?
At Buffalo land border crossings, program participants proceed to dedicated NEXUS only lanes and present their NEXUS photo-identification cards. All occupants of the vehicle must be enrolled in NEXUS to utilize the dedicated lanes. In addition to dedicated NEXUS lanes at the Lewiston and Peace Bridges, the Whirlpool Bridge in Niagara Falls is designated as a NEXUS-only crossing, available exclusively to NEXUS cardholders.
Additional Benefits of Global Entry included with NEXUS:
Individuals approved to participate in NEXUS receive photo identification cards that allow them to receive expedited passage at NEXUS-dedicated lanes at the land borders (both into the U.S. and Canada), NEXUS kiosks at airports when entering Canada, at Global Entry kiosks when entering the U.S. (both in the U.S. and at preclearance locations) and by calling a marine telephone reporting center in the marine environment to report their arrival into the U.S. or Canada. NEXUS members who are U.S. citizens, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, or Canadian citizens will also receive the benefits of TSA Pre-Check.