The NEXUS program, formerly known as the frequent traveller program is a program used by and within the USA and Canada to allow pre-approved travellers who are deemed to be low risk across the Canadian/ US border quickly and efficiently. NEXUS is part of the Trusted Traveller Program and valid under the Western Hemisphere traveller initiative.
Members of NEXUS benefit from shorter queues and can use reserved lanes and self serve kiosks to speed up their entry between countries via land, air and water. NEXUS cards are valid under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and are controlled by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Citizens or permanent residents of either the United States or Canada can take part in the program. Residents will have lived in either or both countries for over three years and must be allowed to enter both nations.
Citizens who apply for the NEXUS card are required to undergo a number of checks from the FBI, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and a range of others, including the United Kingdom Police National Computer. Those who pass these checks must then undergo an interview by US and/or Canadian border police. Those who pass are issued a NEXUS card which allows them the benefits of faster entry. This card is valid for five years and then must be reapplied for.
From the 8th of May 2012 A new US and Canadian backed ‘Beyond the Border Action Plan’ will mean changes for the membership in order to streamline the US immigration and Canadian immigration process further. Both border patrols will look to increase the amount of NEXUS members to ‘focus their resources and examination efforts on travellers of a high or unknown risk’ according to the plan.
Changes by the CBP and CBSA will mean that those undergoing the NEXUS renewal process will not have to undergo an interview if there have been no changes in their information since the previous USA visa was issued.
Both border patrols have also invested in campaigns to increase the awareness of the NEXUS program in a bid to increase its membership and lower border entry times and processing periods for Canadian and American Visas.
NEXUS can be used for crossings between the USA and Canada over land, air and water. A passport is necessary if arriving into either country from an outside country. Processing time is between 6-8 weeks and the card is valid for up to five years and costs $50. Applicants under the age of 18 receive a waiver for the cards.
To apply applicants must send photocopies of a number of documents including passports and birth certificates. They must also receive an interview at a NEXUS enrolment centre (if it’s their initial NEXUS card). This interview will include a photograph, fingerprints and an iris scan. When this is processed the card is delivered by the CBSA.