One of the most useful items I have for travelling is my NEXUS Card. For those unfamiliar with the program, the NEXUS card is available to low-risk Canadian and US citizens who have been pre-approved to expedite their border crossing. To obtain a card you need to fill in an application form and fee of 50$ and then complete an interview. If approved they will take your digital finger prints and iris scans. It’s a bit of a fuss to get the card, but I think the benefits definitely make up for it. For more information about the program check out their website here.
So now onto the good stuff… I think the NEXUS card is worth the money for a number of reasons but as always be honest, and stay current of the rules that govern this program. It is a privilege to be granted a card and can be revoked at any time.
1. Cutting lines at airport: I am not a very important person, so when I was allowed to cut in front of the line at a small Canadian airport for a domestic flight because of my NEXUS card it was an awesome feeling (not so much for the disgruntled man behind me). Many airports also have specific NEXUS only lines at security, so you can get through the whole process a lot quicker.
2. Less wait time during border crossing: During land crossings at major borders there is generally a special lane available only to NEXUS card holders. This means that during busy holiday week-ends, you easily save about an hour. The only catch is that everyone in your car needs to have the card.
3. Reduced interrogate for declarations: One of the best perks (and it should NEVER be taken advantage of) is avoiding the interrogation that makes me feel like a criminal every time I meet a border security agent. I totally get that it’s their job, but sometimes it feels a bit much. With NEXUS, the questions are reduced and as long as you are following the rules (i.e. have a list of food and country source for border crossing) than it’s a much briefer and pleasant experience. In fact, during land crossings you can simply drop off your Traveller Declaration Card in a box and drive off.
4. Connection with other family members: When you are issued a NEXUS card you have the option of linking your card to other family members or loved ones. It doesn’t mean much during regular use, but in case something happens with one person in the group they can use the ‘network’ to potentially locate other people who may need help.
5. Back up to a passport in case of emergency: If you are travelling in the US or Canada and you happen to have the misfortune of having your passport stolen or lost, than the NEXUS card can serve as a useful backup to still be able to catch any flights (in the US and Canada only) while the paperwork for a replacement passport is being sorted out.