Canada and US to Offer New NEXUS Interview Option

For almost three years, NEXUS enrollment centres in Canada and the United States haven’t been operating as they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in a huge backlog of applications.

In April 2022, the United States began re-opening enrollment centres, and in December 2022, a small number of Canadian centres at land borders reopened for processing the Canadian part of the interview.

In a joint announcement between Canada and the United States, it was revealed that a new option will soon be available for NEXUS interviews in Spring 2023, which is meant to help address the massive backlog of applications. Canadian enrollment centres at certain airports will reopen for interviews, and passengers will then complete their second interview at U.S. Customs prior to a flight to the United States.

New Two-Step Interview Process at Airports 

In Spring 2023, travellers who have been conditionally approved for a NEXUS application will be able to complete their interview in a two-step process at some Canadian airports. 

Once certain Canadian NEXUS enrollment centres are reopened, applicants will complete the Canadian part of the interview with a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) representative in Canada. 

The passenger will then complete a second interview with a representative from United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at pre-clearance facilities prior to a flight to the United States, thus completing the interview process. 

Prior to the pandemic, a single joint interview was conducted with both CBSA and CBP agents present. 

When the U.S. NEXUS enrollment centres reopened in April 2022, applicants could go through the interview stage with the CBSA and CBP agents in a single session. This required all applicants to travel to the United States, which wasn’t an option for many who don’t live near an enrollment centre.

In December 2022, a small number of Canadian NEXUS enrollment centres reopened at land borders. Applicants could then complete the CBSA interview in Canada, and then proceed to the United States for the CBP interview via the land border.

The reopening of NEXUS enrollment centres at Canadian airports marks another step towards clearing the massive backlog of applications. According to a press release from the CBSA, recent efforts, such as extending the hours of operation of U.S. enrollment centres and reopening some Canadian land-border NEXUS offices, have reduced the backlog from 300,000 to around 100,000 applications.

While there is certainly still a large number of NEXUS applications to be processed, the upcoming option of having interviews at Canadian airports will hopefully assist with clearing the backlog.

The full details of the upcoming reopening of NEXUS centres at Canadian airports have yet to be released, but it’s expected that the CBSA and CBP will announce further information in the near future.

Applicants can still schedule interviews at U.S. NEXUS enrollment centres, or two-part interviews at designated land borders. 

How to Apply for NEXUS

As a reminder, NEXUS is a program for Americans and Canadians that pre-approves low-risk travellers for crossing air, land, and sea borders with greater ease. Travellers with NEXUS can use automated self-serve kiosks and enjoy separate border lines that streamline the process.

Eligible travellers can apply for NEXUS in two steps. First, you’ll need to submit an application and provide information about your identity, travel history, and proof of citizenship.

If you’re conditionally approved, you’ll need to schedule an in-person interview at a NEXUS enrollment centre. Appointments can be difficult to come by, but with the upcoming reopening of some Canadian airport NEXUS offices, there should be more options available.

After going through the interview(s), and assuming you’re approved, you’ll receive your NEXUS card in the mail a few weeks later. The card is valid for five years, and may be renewed thereafter.

Many Canadian and U.S. credit cards come with NEXUS rebates, which helps to cover the cost of the application or renewal. If you haven’t applied for NEXUS yet, or if you’re soon to renew your membership, be sure to make use of the credit from one of the following credit cards.

Canadian Credit Cards with NEXUS Rebates
Credit Card Best Offer Value
Up to 90,000 Aeroplan points $1,921 Apply Now
85,000 MR points $1,503 Apply Now
90,000 Aeroplan points $1,449 Apply Now
115,000 Aeroplan points $1,278 Apply Now
75,000 MR points $1,118 Apply Now
Up to 55,000 Aeroplan points $945 Apply Now
Up to 60,000 Aeroplan points $735 Apply Now
40,000 CIBC Aventura points $513 Apply Now
Up to 80,000 CIBC Aventura points $373 Apply Now

In the United States, credit cards with rebates for NEXUS applications and renewals are all offered by Chase:

  • Chase Aeroplan Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • Chase United Quest Card
  • Chase United Explorer Card
  • Chase United Club Infinite Card
  • Chase IHG Rewards Premier Card
  • Chase IHG Rewards Premier Business Card
  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card

Each of these U.S. cards provide the cardholder with one statement credit of up to $100 (USD) every four years for either the NEXUS, Global Entry, or TSA PreCheck application fee charged to the card.

Options for Travellers Without NEXUS Cards

If you’re not eligible for NEXUS, or if you haven’t obtained a card yet, you can still benefit from a streamlined airport experience when travelling between Canada and the United States.

At airports in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, as well as in a number of US airports, you can use Mobile Passport Control, which is an app offered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  The app allows users to upload information in advance, which ultimately speeds up their processing time when crossing into the United States.

Reports from travellers suggest that the separate line for Mobile Passport Control can save a significant amount of time at the border. Since the app is free to use and doesn’t require any applications, be sure to check it out if you’re departing from an airport where it’s offered.

Furthermore, in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, you can also benefit from a program that allows you to book a spot at security in advance. The programs are known as YYZ Express, YVR Express, and YUL Express.

If you’re able to pair a security reservation with Mobile Passport Control, you stand to get through security and customs in no time, giving you plenty of time to relax in the lounge or eat before a flight.

Conclusion

Canada and the United States have announced that travellers with a conditionally approved NEXUS application will soon have another option to complete the interview process. As of Spring 2023, Canadian NEXUS enrollment centres at certain airports will reopen, and passengers will be able to complete their interviews in a two-step process.

Full details of the reopening are to be announced in the near future. In the meantime, be sure to make your NEXUS application as soon as possible so you can take advantage of one of the appointments once they become available.

Many credit cards offer NEXUS rebates, making it easy and affordable to apply for a NEXUS card. If you travel frequently between Canada and the United States, a NEXUS card can surely save you a significant amount of time at the border.