What is a NEXUS Card and Why You Need One

After finally arriving in Canada or the United States, have you ever waited hours in line at the port of entry just to cross the border? If you are tired of this, the solution may be the Nexus card— designed for the low-risk, frequent traveler seeking expedited border crossing.

Membership in the NEXUS program can significantly reduce wait times by granting privileges for 5 years that regular travelers do not have: dedicated processing lanes at land border crossings including designated preclearance security check lanes, access to NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada, access to the U.S Global Entry kiosk, the ability to call a marine telephone reporting center to report a marine entry in Canada or the U.S.

For almost all travel between Canada and the U.S, citizens of the two countries may travel without a passport and just a Nexus card. However, for travel by air from Canada to the U.S, travelling with just the Nexus card is only accepted at the 8 major Canadian airports (YYZ, YVR, YYC, YUL, YEG, YWG, YOW, YHZ) with a U.S preclearance area.

So, who is eligible to apply? What are the prerequisites?

  • Canadian and American citizens, and Mexican citizens who are members of the Viajero Confiable (Trusted Traveler) program
  • Permanent Residents of Canada and the U.S are eligible for application after residing in their respective country for at least 3 years
  • Those admissible to Canada or the U.S under immigration laws
  • Those who can pass risk assessments by both countries- those convicted of a serious criminal offence in any country without pardon may be disqualified

Permanent Residents exempt from the 3-year rule are individuals in the Canadian or American armed forces serving in a foreign country and their family members, or individuals serving at a Canadian or American diplomatic mission or consular post in a foreign country and their family members.

Applicants will require proof of birth, identification, citizenship or residency documents, and a $50 USD processing fee. Children under 18 are free.

Upon conditional approval, individuals will be contacted to schedule an interview at a NEXUS Enrolment Center, where they will be interviewed by a Canadian Border Services Agent and/or a U.S Customs and Border Protection officer. They will verify the accuracy of the information on the application, check identity and review original documents, and take fingerprints.

Anyone that has been arrested, charged or convicted of an offence in the past, should seek legal advice before attempting to enroll in NEXUS. Similarly, if you have had a customs violation this could disqualify you.  Finally, there are also immigration implications to enrolment and individuals that travel on business or for work should consult an immigration professional before proceeding.

If accepted into NEXUS, the officer will take photos of the new member’s irises for identification with the Canadian self-serve kiosks, a headshot for the Nexus card, and explain the terms and conditions.

Unfortunately, as of July 8, 2022, Canadian NEXUS Enrolment centers remain closed, however, interviews at U.S NEXUS Enrolment centers have resumed, so there is promise that others will soon be able to enroll and take advantage of this program.  All Canadian applicants are advised to schedule their appointment at the nearest U.S Enrolment center.


If you would like to meet with one of our Canadian immigration law professionals to discuss the NEXUS process, or any other immigration needs we are happy to advise. Our legal professionals can be reached by phone (416 368 1111) or via email: caruso@cilf.ca; guberman@cilf.ca; appleby@cilf.ca; mukherjee@cilf.ca; fagan@cilf.ca; bonisteel@cilf.ca; ali@cilf.ca; green@cilf.ca