NEXUS Program Requirements
NEXUS cards are given to low risk travelers whose personal data has been subject to numerous checks by both US and Canada border officials and law enforcement agencies. These trusted travelers have undergone a Nexus interview with Customs and Border Protection officers from both the US and Canada. If you are a permanent resident or citizen of the US or Canada you can apply for a NEXUS pass today. You will be denied access to the NEXUS pass program if any of the following apply to you:
- Your application form contains incomplete or false information
- If you have a criminal record or outstanding charges no matter how long ago your conviction occurred.
- If you are subject to a law enforcement investigation.
- If you have any convictions with the US or Canadian military.
- If you have any immigration violations or you are considered inadmissible to the US (US waivers and Canadian pardons are taken into consideration for this program)
- If you have violated customs and border regulations
If your case was dismissed you must provide certified court records to be considered for the NEXUS card program.
How NEXUS Card Transmits Data
NEXUS card transmits personal data about the card holder in the following way: When you join the NEXUS card lane at the US Canada border your radio frequency ID (RFID) NEXUS card transmits a signal with your personal NEXUS card ID number. It does the same thing for all other NEXUS pass holders traveling in your vehicle. Your NEXUS data appears on the border official’s computer screen. It is cross checked with law enforcement databases in Canada and the US as well as with license plate readers. The customs and border patrol guard verifies the NEXUS data when you arrive at the NEXUS lane inspection point. As a low risk traveler your personal information is held on the Customs and Border Patrol computer and not directly on your NEXUS card.
NEXUS Pass Benefits
The list of Nexus pass benefits may be small but put simply, the time spent queuing at the US Canada border particularly at peak times makes a NEXUS pass essential for anyone who crosses the border no matter how often. Some of the NEXUS program benefits are as follows:
- Faster border crossing times even at peak periods
- Dedicated NEXUS lanes to expedite travel and save long queue times
- Faster border inspection time. Customs and Border Patrol estimate that it takes NEXUS card holders 10 seconds at the border guard’s inspection booth.
- Fewer questions by border guards
- Less stress when traveling with children
NEXUS Pass Disadvantages
If Nexus pass disadvantages exist it is a matter of opinion. Some people believe there are disadvantages to being a GOES NEXUS pass holder and whilst this may be true, you have to weigh up whether the advantages (faster crossing times, no queues, less questions from border guards) outweigh the Nexus pass disadvantages.
Nexus pass disadvantages are as follows:
You may not be comfortable with the Canadian and US governments having so much information held on record about you. The “big brother” phenomenon could be a disadvantage of the GOES NEXUS pass, because they’ll have your address and employment history, your immigration status, your fingerprints, and (optionally) your iris scan.
Another Nexus pass disadvantage could be the RFID tag embedded in the NEXUS card. Some people think that this could be used to track your whereabouts.
If you break any immigration or customs laws, your GOES NEXUS pass will be revoked and you will be prosecuted. Some believe that the penalties for a trusted traveler NEXUS pass holder is harsher than if the same violation was committed by a non-NEXUS card holder.
Holding a GOES NEXUS pass will get you over the border faster, but if you are travelling with non- Nexus card holders you cannot use the NEXUS kiosks to speed up your travel, nor can you drop them off to cross the border on foot – this will result in an automatic withdrawal of your GOES NEXUS pass. The NEXUS pass only covers you, not your passengers. That means if you want to cross the border with passengers, you either need to cross in the regular lanes
If you are not a Canadian or US citizen you must keep your immigration status up-to-date with the GOES NEXUS authorities. If your paperwork changes frequently the Nexus paperwork maintenance to be more hassle than it’s worth.
Finally, the restrictions on goods that can be brought across the US Canada border without making a customs declaration may prove to be another Nexus pass disadvantage; if you frequently bring in goods that need to be declared you will save little time crossing with a NEXUS pass.
IVT does not guarantee approval for any Trusted Traveler program. Inaccurate or incomplete NEXUS pass application forms are automatically denied access to the NEXUS cards program.
More questions about Nexus? Read our FAQs