Following up on a promise to launch new options to help clear a swelling backlog of NEXUS applications, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are moving forward with a plan to increase the enrolment capacity for new and renewing members.
The binational NEXUS program benefits people on "both sides" of the Canada-U.S. border, reads a press release issued Wednesday (Jan. 25).
This new option for air travellers should be available by Spring 2023, the agencies say.
It will include CBSA interviews at reopened airport enrolment centres in Canada and separate CBP interviews at Canadian airport preclearance locations for applicants departing for the United States.
This new process has two steps:
The process begins with the Canadian portion of the NEXUS interview conducted by CBSA officers at Canadian airport enrolment centres.
Applicants must book an appointment online for this step.
The U.S. portion of the NEXUS interview will be conducted by CBP officers in the preclearance area of a Canadian airport before the applicant departs for the United States.
Applicants will not need to schedule appointments for the U.S. interview but are encouraged to build in time to their travel plans to allow for this interview to take place before their departure.
The CBP interview can occur only after the CBSA portion of the interview has been completed and the information has been shared with CBP.
This new process is in addition to the existing option for applicants to schedule joint interviews with CBP and CBSA officers at land border enrolment centres in the United States.
This new measure builds on others introduced by CBP and CBSA in 2022 to provide travellers with more options to obtain or renew their membership:
Existing members who renew their membership prior to the expiry date will have their benefits extended for up to five years to allow for the scheduling and completion of interviews, as required (if they have not been auto-renewed).
Split interview process
A new split interview process at two land ports of entry – where the Canadian interview is conducted at the Canadian enrolment centre and the U.S. interview completed at the corresponding U.S. enrolment centre located just across the border.
This process is currently available at the Lansdowne, Ontario (Thousand Islands) and Fort Erie, Ontario (Peace Bridge) enrolment centres and we are looking to expand to additional sites.
A new NEXUS enrolment centre in Ogdensburg, New York, with CBSA and CBP officers conducting joint interviews.
Increased interview appointments at enrolment centres in the United States through expanded staffing and enrolment activities.
“These efforts are working,” the CBSA says.
Since October 1, 2022, CBP and CBSA have completed over 200,000 NEXUS enrolments and reduced the net inventory of applicants by approximately 100,000 from its peak in summer 2022, the agency said.
The reopening of Nexus, which expedites the border clearance process for pre-approved members travelling between Canada and U.S., was delayed when offices on both sides closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic
A political squabble between Canada and the U.S. related to legal protections for U.S. border officers operating in Canada delayed the reopening of Nexus enrolment offices in Canada.
During the pandemic, new and existing Canadian Nexus-pass holders requiring in-person interviews had to travel to the U.S., where offices opened last April, to finalize their application.
Earlier this month, the CBSA said it has put a dent in its backlog of Nexus applications, saying it has reduced the number to roughly 100,000.