Application online for easier crossing to United States
It is now easier for Canadians who frequently visit the United States to apply for NEXUS privileges as a result of the launching of a new online application process announced on Thursday by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.
NEXUS was first implemented in 2000 with a view of fast-tracking travellers crossing the Canada-U.S. border.
Canadians who wish to avoid waiting in line to be screened by U.S. border officials each time they cross the border can apply for a NEXUS pass. Applicants are required to submit to a background check, in-person interview, fingerprinting, and a $50.00 US five-year membership fee.
Obviously, the program is not for everyone. It is intended only for “low-risk” travellers. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of Canada or the U.S., must be admissible to both countries, and must pass risk assessments by both countries.
Those who are denied can re-apply 90 days after the date of the refusal of their application.
Approved members have access to dedicated commuter lanes, airport kiosks and telephonic marine reporting that allows expedited processing.
The NEXUS program has grown to include 15 lanes at 11 locations along the border, at marine reporting locations border-wide, and at five Canadian airports.
Airports in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa have operated NEXUS kiosks for some time now. On August 1, they were joined by Halifax. The program is expected to be extended soon to airports in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.
When travelling to the U.S. by air, NEXUS travellers use designated lanes and submit to iris recognition equipment to identify the traveller and verify his or her membership in the program thereby avoiding potentially long lines leading to an inspector. NEXUS members can also use their cards to enter the United States in the land and marine modes.
The NEXUS card can be used as an alternative to a passport for air travel to the U.S., a requirement that went into effect on January 23, 2007.
Starting some time in 2008 it will become necessary for Canadians to use a passport to enter the U.S. by land or water.
It is yet to be determined if the NEXUS card will be designated as an alternative to this requirement.
There are now over 133,000 travellers from both sides of the border who benefit from this program and who together account for more than 6 per cent of all border crossings.
To access the new online application process, visit the “Quicklinks” section at www.cbp.gov.
For more information on NEXUS call the CBP at 1-800-927-8729 or the Canada Border Services Agency at 1-888-281-5778.