9

As other questions have noted, the NEXUS card is the best thing since sliced bread. Cheaper than TSA Pre-Check (especially if you have children) but includes all the benefits of Pre-Check, Global Entry, and some of its own unique benefits, for example expedited lanes at land crossings into Canada. The only downsides are that it takes longer to process and you have to go to a small set of locations for the interview.

Even though I only live a few hours away from the Canadian border, I've only gone there a handful of times, perhaps once every five years or so.

Will the Canadian and/or US border authorities take that into account when deciding whether to grant NEXUS membership?

Naturally, it's never wise to lie to any border control authority, which would including saying you plan to visit Canada more frequently in the future than you did in the past.

  • 1
    When mentioning benefits, you forgot that it lets you fly between the US and Canada passport-free if you're a US/Canadian citizen :) – Crazydre Feb 2 '18 at 14:55
17

The purpose of the CBP Trusted Traveler programs is to establish that you are a low security risk. They want to know about any criminal history, associations with terrorist or anti-government groups, violations of customs or immigration laws, and so on. To help with that, you provide them a travel history they can look over for suspicious destinations.

Your non-travel to a non-suspicious destination is not going to constitute a reason for denial. Consider furthermore that they don't expect you to know your exact travel plans for the next five years. Someone applying for a NEXUS card because of frequent work travel to Canada might switch jobs and no longer make those drives; that alone is not going to cause either the Canadian or American government to decide that she is now a threat.

The application form does not ask any questions about when or where or how you plan to use the program. You are not required to make any number of trips to any particular destination over the lifetime of the membership to maintain it, either. It's not unlike someone applying for a passport but never going on any international trips. In fact, it's less strange than that. The NEXUS processing fee is subsidized expressly to encourage people to apply for it, and it's not against the law to take advantage of a bargain even if you're interested in some benefits more than others.

If you are asked about it during the interview, just be truthful. I doubt you will be asked, however. If you're like me— a natural-born U.S. citizen with a clean criminal record and no ties or past travel to suspect countries— the interview is something of a bureaucratic formality; they've already done the background check at that point. My Global Entry interview lasted at best 10 minutes, and the vast majority of that was the interviewer reading from a script and then taking my fingerprints.

  • 6
    During the NEXUS interview one of the first questions asked is, "why do you want NEXUS?". OP's reasons sound perfectly valid. – Rocky Feb 2 '18 at 1:59
  • The NEXUS is also an advantage for the CBP. This allows them to pre-process low-risk travelers instead of having all of them show up at the border. Whether you use it or not doesn't change your risk. They don't really care. – Nelson Feb 3 '18 at 4:18
4

There's no reason why you can't apply. Just note that almost all the interview centres are in Canada or at the Canadian border (Seattle Boeing Field is the one that's furthest from the border). Unless you're in Seattle or intend to travel there, you'll have to, at a minimum, go to the border, if not across, for your interview.

Also, to register your retinal scans for the Canadian kiosks, you'll need to go to an interview centre that's equipped with the retinal readers. Most of the US interview centres lack this.

Air Canada and WestJet are increasingly targeting US business to overseas destinations; NEXUS would be a considerable help in transiting Canada while going on such flights. Something to keep in mind.

Also, living only five hours away, you should really come to Canada more often. The currency exchange rate is significantly in your favour at the moment. :)

  • I live "a few hours" away (in the Seattle area in fact). "Five" is the number I mentioned as the average number of years between my visits. – stannius Feb 5 '18 at 17:57
  • @stannius Even more reason to come up. Vancouver is a great city. And taking the ferry from Seattle to Victoria is a very pleasant trip as well. – Jim MacKenzie Feb 5 '18 at 17:58

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