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I've been told vaguely after seeing on a forum that the NEXUS Card is the greatest thing since sliced bread. My understanding is that it's a card for frequent travellers between the US and Canada.

However, why frequent travellers? Does it cost each time? And do you need to be a US/Canadian citizen to get one? Living in Vancouver this year I anticipate a few trips across the border, and smoother immigration is always preferable...

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to the NEXUS site, both Canadian and US citizens are eligible (and only US/Canada citizens). The program is only for the Canadian border (northern land crossings, US immigration checkpoints in Canadian airports and NEXUS kiosks at various marine entry points).

It costs $50 to get the card, you don't need to pay to use it. It replaces your passport for land and marine crossings between the US and Canada. Air travel between US and Canada still requires a Passport, although a Nexus card can expedite customs clearance in airports.

For US citizens and green card holders (and citizens of Mexico and Holland) there's also a Global Entry program, which is similar in nature. It appears that the programs are being connected/merged, but I'm not sure what's going on exactly.

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While you don't need to be a frequent traveler, you do need to have a motivation to go to the airport at least once while not traveling (to be interviewed and have your iris scan) and to spend $50. I think it justified itself the first time I used it. You skip the entire lineup for customs and immigration and instead spend a few moments at a kiosk. It's marvelous. Occasionally you are sent for random inspection, and if you're breaking any rules (and the Nexus rules are stricter than the regular border rules) you lose your card. Forever. Trust me, that motivates you to stick to the stricter rules.

You have to be both a citizen and a resident of the US or Canada. I was told to bring things like Hydro bills to prove I lived here. As well you have to tell someone why you tend to cross the border. There's a background check and some general investigating of you in advance, plus the interview. All well worth it.

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Go to the airport IN A CITY THAT HAS AN INTERVIEW OFFICE. For many people that means a plane trip. –  Loren Pechtel May 4 '12 at 2:06
@LorenPechtel good point, I was being YYZ-centric again. Though it is a 90 minute drive there for me so it was nontrivial. –  Kate Gregory May 4 '12 at 11:26

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