How to Apply for the Nexus Program

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A few months ago, I deliberated as to whether the Nexus pass is worth it?

My answer is a resounding YES.

It is amazing.

And that is all.

Here are a few more benefits to the Nexus program

  • Is the Nexus Pass Worth it?You get treated differently:  When I first went through the Nexus lane, I was a bit nervous.  Honestly though, I didn't need to be because the way the customs officers treat you when you go through Nexus is completely completely different.  The look in their eyes was more ambivalence versus interrogation.  They know you are a trusted traveler and unless you flat out lie and they can tell, they usually go ahead and let you go.  Which brings me to the next point:
  • Make sure you don't lie!  This is quite key, actually.  If they catch you lying they will take away your Nexus pass and you will never be allowed to get it again.  Ever.  I recently went through the Nexus lane on the same day and brought back a $10 bottle of wine.  I told them I came back with a $10 bottle of wine and they were okay with it.  Another day I went through purchasing about $250 worth of clothing and shoes and coming back into Canada on the same day.  I was happy to pay the duty/ taxes required, but they went ahead and let me through (score!).  So, just like travelling through the regular lanes, make sure you don't lie!
  • Bypassing lines at the airport  This is especially pertinent for those who often leave very little time between check-in and the departure of the flight (lol… like yours truly).  You can use the faster Nexus line during security and when you are going through customs.  Thanks to Sandra K who pointed out this amazing feature of the Nexus Program for flyers.
  • It is ridiculously fast- The line up to go into the states from Vancouver was about 40 minutes (this was on a non-long weekend day).  The line up to go into the states from Vancouver through the Nexus line was 0 minutes.  There was no line.  AMAZING!
  • For $50 every 5 years, this is a no brainer.  Here's a little more information about the Nexus program from the Canada Border Services Agency

Here is a Step by Step Guide on How to Apply for the Nexus Program

  1. Apply Online through the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES)
  2. Register for a GOES account (it's a good idea to jot down your password and user ID because you'll be using it a lot in the future)
  3. Apply online and have documents ready when applying.  The documents accepted are listed here.  You'll also need your car registration number.  I had my resume on hand, which was very helpful because it asks a lot of detailed information like where you worked and where you lived for the past few years.
  4. Pay the $50 fee with your credit card
  5. You can check your status periodically or wait for the email! The email will ask you to book an appointment for an interview
  6.  My earliest interview date was around five to six months after my application
  7. Go to the interview!  Face a stern looking customs border security agent who will ask you a few questions verifying your information (which wasn't as detailed as I thought it would be- I brought my resume again in case they ask me specifically when I worked where).  They will let you know then and there whether you have been approved.
  8. Get a retinal scan if you want to use your Nexus card at the airport
  9. Get your Nexus card in the mail in 4-6 weeks
  10. You must activate your Nexus card and do this within 30 days or else you'll have to start all over again- Being the smarty pants (not) that I am, I had difficulty activating my Nexus card.  Go here to activate your card (hint: go to the lower right hand corner to activate your card, don't log into the GOES website because you won't find anything there).

Hopefully that was helpful and I highly recommend the Nexus pass!

Readers, what have been your Nexus application and Nexus card usage experiences?  Good? Bad? Ugly?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

4 Comments

  1. Alan on October 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    A note for those applying: Although the next available appointment might be 3-6 months away, keep checking back on the GOES website every day and you’ll likely be able to snag someone’s cancellation for a better timeslot or location.



  2. Daniel on October 10, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    The nexus pass is a great way to skip the line, especially at the airport! I’ve never tried going through the nexus lane by land; I heard that if you have any passengers in the car with you without the nexus pass, you won’t be able to use the lane. Have you had that experience?



  3. Young on October 25, 2013 at 2:09 am

    @Daniel- Yes that’s correct! Everyone in the car has to have the Nexus pass in order for you to use your Nexus.



  4. Young on October 25, 2013 at 2:09 am

    @Alan- Thanks Alan! Yes, forgot to mention that tip! It’s time consuming but if you’re in a hurry that’s a good way to rush it.



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