What is it?
The NEXUS card gives U.S. and Canadian citizens pre-approval when entering Canada or the United States at all participating NEXUS air, land and marine ports of entry. The NEXUS Card satisfies Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requirements; it proves identity and citizenship and thereby acts as a substitute for a passport for entry into Canada for U.S. citizens (and vice versa).
The NEXUS card program is a partnership between the Canada and U.S. border services, but NEXUS cards are issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
How does a NEXUS Card work?
NEXUS card holders are identified at land border crossings by presenting their cards for scanning and at airport kiosks by undergoing a retinal recognition scan - a process that takes about 10 seconds.
What are the benefits?
- NEXUS card holders have faster, less involved border crossings using automated NEXUS self-serve kiosks in designated areas at participating international airports.
- By land, drivers may bypass lineups and use the special (shorter, if not empty) NEXUS card lanes.
- By water, card holders can report to border officials by phone in advance of arrival.
Who Can Apply for a NEXUS Card:
Any citizen of Canada or the U.S. who resides in either country and can pass criminal history and law enforcement checks may apply for a NEXUS card.
Good to Know:
- NEXUS Card holders don't have to cross the border for work-related reasons; even if you travel to one of the two countries twice a year, the NEXUS card may be well worth your while.
- If travelling with a group or family, all members need to have the NEXUS Card to use the designated NEXUS lineup.
- Although NEXUS card holders will not be asked to show their passports at border crossings, technically they are supposed to have passports with them.
- NEXUS card holders can still be pulled over and searched.
- NEXUS card holders can pay the duty on purchased goods automatically. They just give their credit info at the NEXUS interview and then drop off a form at the border each time they cross.
Where Can I Use My NEXUS Card?:
NEXUS card holders may use their cards and take advantage of faster, more convenient border crossings at vehicle crossings across Canada, eight Canadian airports as well as various waterway locations.
Applicants - both U.S. and Canadian - can apply for a NEXUS card online, or download the application from the CBP-NEXUS site and mail away or bring in person to a Canadian Processing Centers (CPC) in Niagara Falls, Montreal or Surrey, BC. NEXUS card applications may be available at some border crossings but they are no longer available at Post Offices.
A few weeks after your NEXUS card application has been submitted, someone will contact to arrange an interview.
Interviews may be conducted by both a Canadian and an American border representative separately and generally last about a half hour in total. Questions focus on citizenship, criminal record, border crossing experiences. Authorities will also explain the legalities of bringing items over border.
At this point, you will also be fingerprinted and have your retina scan.
The NEXUS card costs $50 (both in US and CAN funds) and is good for five years.