Americans and Canadians can use NEXUS identification cards for easier travel and entry into Canada and the United States.
If you own a NEXUS card, it means you are a low-risk traveler. To use any of the privileges associated with the NEXUS card you must present the valid card each time you find yourself at an entry point. In general, you’ll get faster through designated airport lanes, land lanes, and marine ports, and expedite security clearance and customs procedures. The differences about the rights you have at the border with your NEXUS cards depend on the mode of travel.
WHTI Rights and Proof of Citizenship
The NEXUS card is a WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) compliant document, which means that you can use its privileges when entering the United States.
You can also present the card as proof of identification and citizenship when entering Canada.
Mode of Travel
NEXUS members traveling by air can use the privileges of the Canadian Transport Security Authority (CATSA) screening lanes located at 16 Canadian airports. NEXUS land travelers can use their privileges at 21 land border crossing points. In the marine mode, NEXUS members can get through the 450 marine sites in a simple and easy way.
Rights with the NEXUS card in the Air
One of the best privileges from the NEXUS membership is the option to use automated NEXUS kiosks located in the U.S. Preclearance area and the Canadian inspection services area at airports where NEXUS is available.
Self-Service NEXUS Kiosks
If you own a NEXUS card, you don’t need to speak to a Canadian borders services officer or a U.S. CBP officer. You can skip the queue and go straight to the self-service kiosk to have your biometrics taken.
Biometrics is used only in the voluntary CANPASS and NEXUS programs. It doesn’t apply to regular travelers. The biometric procedure includes standing in front of a biometric camera to have your irises photographed. You need to listen to the audio instructions and answer all questions. The system must first confirm that the photo taken matches the photo on record. Only then you will be able to proceed to answer immigration and customs questions.
NEXUS card holders cannot use the eDeclaration mobile app, unless travelling as a regular traveller together with the Primary Inspection Kiosks.
For now, Nexus kiosks are located at the following 8 locations when entering Canada:
- Calgary (YYC)
- Edmonton (YEG)
- Halifax (YHZ)
- Montreal (YUL)
- Ottawa (YOW)
- Toronto (YYZ)
- Billy Bishop Toronto (YTZ)
- Vancouver (YVR)
- Winnipeg (YWG)
Installing electronic kiosks is a work in progress in 2018 and 2019, to learn if your airport is equipped with a kiosk, you can call the BIS at 800-461-9999 from within Canada, or 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 from outside the country.
NEXUS card users can use either the NEXUS kiosks available at certain airports or the Primary Inspection Kiosks when a NEXUS kiosk is not available, but, in that case, they will need to use the passport for entry.
Rights with the NEXUS card at a Land Border
If you are entering Canada at one of the 21 land border crossing points you need to hold your NEXUS card in front of the proximity card reader to get through the other side. Once you get through, you need to stop for a visual inspection by the border services officer. Unless you are asked to proceed to an inspection area for further inspection, you may proceed to your Canadian destination.
Rights with the NEXUS card at a Marine Port of Entry
Before you arrive at one of the NEXUS approved marine sites in Canada, you need to call the TRC NEXUS marine line. You need to complete this step at least half an hour, but no later than 4 hours prior to your arrival. The phone number you need to call is 1-866-99-NEXUS (1-866-996-3987).
You will get a reporting number which you must keep as a proof to present it to a by a Canadian border services officer when asked to do so. If you are not met by a border services officer once you get at the docking site, you can proceed the journey to your next destination.
If you are going to the United States, the boat master will do the reporting in the respective U.S. area.
Customs Declaration Privileges
Instead of the standard Customs Declaration Card, Canadian residents who are members of the NEXUS program can use a Traveler Declaration Card (TDC) to declare goods and pay for duties or taxes. You can fill out the card electronically on your laptop or by hand on the plane and place it in one of the TDC boxes located nearby self-serve kiosks. If there is no designated TDC box available, just hand over the form to the border services officer.
Canadian Border Services will use the credit card information provided on the form to charge you and collect the taxes and duties you owe. If you don’t have the privileges to pay your taxes and duties via the TDC form, you will get a receipt, which you must pay at airport cashier desks.
Please note that if you have more than CAN$10,000 on you in cash or other monetary instruments, you are not allowed to use the NEXUS card to get through the border in any mode of travel. You must travel as a regular traveler and use your passport.
Duties with the NEXUS card
The NEXUS membership comes with associated rights, as well as with duties. If you don’t like to lose your NEXUS privileges, make sure you act in line with the following NEXUS obligations:
- Act in compliance with all rules and regulations enforced by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the United States Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) in the customs and immigration areas.
- Report/declare all goods that you are importing.
- Bring and present your NEXUS membership card any time you intend to use the NEXUS privileges.
- The NEXUS card is for personal use only. Don’t transfer it or lend it to others, and don’t help other get through the border by facilitating their entry with your NEXUS card.
- When you are traveling in your own vehicle, ensure that each passenger has a valid NEXUS membership card in order to be able to use expedite NEXUS lanes.
- Keep your personal information, such as address, immigration status, and passport information up-to-date.
- Understand that you don‘t own the NEXUS card. It belongs to the Canadian and U.S. government authorities.
- Destroy any old NEXUS cards once you get the card renewed.
To learn more about how to fill out the Travel Declaration Card or about the personal exemptions on imported goods you have as a Canadian citizen, please refer to How to Do the Customs Declaration when Using Your NEXUS Card.