What Is NEXUS?

NEXUS is a government-sponsored Trusted Travelers Program that allows pre-screened U.S. and Canadian citizens to expedite border crossings. U.S. and Canadian citizens using NEXUS experience expedited border crossings into the United States and Canada with less immigration and customs questioning. NEXUS is valid for air, land, and sea travel, and a NEXUS ID can be used in lieu of a passport.

NEXUS also helps the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reduce travel risks by increasing the number of known safe travelers.

Key Takeaways

  • NEXUS is a government-sponsored program that eases travel bureaucracy for pre-screened citizens of the United States and Canada across air, land, and sea.
  • NEXUS members can use the Global Entry and TSA PreCheck programs without applying separately to each.
  • Membership to NEXUS is valid for slightly more than five years and is available by paying a $50 fee and consenting to a background check and personal interview.

Understanding NEXUS

NEXUS members experience more efficient border crossings between the United States and Canada through dedicated lanes, airport kiosks, and land and sea border checkpoints. NEXUS members do not have to remove their shoes, belts, or light outerwear for airport security screenings and can keep their laptops and 3-1-1 compliant bag of liquids in their carry-on bags.

NEXUS members can use the Global Entry and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Precheck traveler programs without applying separately to each. Global Entry members can use the NEXUS program to cross the border from Canada into the United States without becoming NEXUS members. However, expedited crossing from the United States into Canada requires NEXUS membership.

Applying for NEXUS

NEXUS applicants must pay a $50 fee (USD or CND) and submit to a background check and a personal interview. If approved by both the United States' and Canadian governments, applicants receive a NEXUS ID card with their photo and radio frequency identification document (RFID) functionality. The card is valid for slightly more than five years and can be renewed following the same procedure as outlined above. The date of expiration is calculated from the next birthdate after the cardholder's last interview. NEXUS participants can also have their irises scanned as an alternative form of identification at border crossings.

NEXUS is open to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent U.S. residents, Canadian citizens, and lawful permanent residents of Canada. Individuals with a criminal history, customs violations, or immigration violations—or who do not meet criteria for admission to the United States or Canada—may not be approved for NEXUS. Either country can deny an individual’s application, but both must approve it.

Reasons for NEXUS Ineligibility

You may not be eligible for participation in the NEXUS program if you:

  • Provide false or incomplete information on the application
  • Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants (to include driving under the influence)
  • Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration, or agriculture regulations or laws in any country
  • Are the subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency
  • Are inadmissible to the United States under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation
  • Cannot satisfy CBP or Canada Border Services Agency of your low-risk status
Article Sources
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  1. Department of Homeland Security. "Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed Feb. 8, 2021.

  2. Department of Homeland Security. "NEXUS Details." Accessed Feb. 8, 2021.

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