What is the NEXUS card! What Does It Do!

August 17, 2020

If you’ve ever crossed the American/Canadian border, you’ve probably seen the lane for NEXUS card holders or you may have also have seen NEXUS terminals at an airport.  The NEXUS card is an alternative method of crossing the border – also fulfilling the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.  It’s ideal for those who regularly travel between two countries or for those who commute between the United States and Canada for work.  The NEXUS card program is a partnership between the Canada and U.S. border services, but NEXUS cards are issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  The program was created to streamline customs and immigration clearance for pre-screened, low-risk, frequent travelers.  The card proves identity and citizenship and thereby acts as a substitute for a passport for entry into Canada for U.S. citizens (and vice versa).  Anyone can apply for a NEXUS card, however, you must be interviewed and need to qualify.

NEXUS card holders are identified at land border crossings by presenting their cards for scanning and at airport kiosks by undergoing a biometric security check – a retinal recognition scan.  With that said, not all airports accommodate NEXUS cardholders.

The NEXUS card is NOT meant to replace a Canadian passport and does NOT grant you special privileges.  Even if you carry a NEXUS card – even though you won’t be asked for your passport at a U.S. border – you still need to have it with you.  You cannot travel internationally with a NEXUS card, it is meant only to facilitate entry and re-entry between the United States and Canada.

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