Another way to speed through security: Answers to your questions about Nexus

Dec 10, 2021

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For the past three weeks, I’ve answered questions about the differences between TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Clear, three programs popular among TPG readers that help lessen the sometimes inevitable frustration of navigating U.S. airport security and passport checks.

Since then, I’ve heard from many Canadian TPG readers asking about Nexus, another program that helps Americans and Canadians cross the U.S.-Canada border.

If this is your first time reading my weekly column, welcome, and here’s where to get caught up to speed:

Read all about TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Clear in Column 1, more about those three in Column 2 and last week’s column here, where I discussed even more about Global Entry.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Here are this week’s top five questions:

In This Post

1. What is Nexus?

Not unlike other trusted traveler programs, Nexus provides pre-screened travelers with expedited processing services when entering the United States and Canada by plane, car or boat.

A Nexus membership grants access to:

  1. Nexus-only processing lanes at designated entry ports along the northern border.
  2. Nexus kiosks when entering Canada by air.
  3. Global Entry kiosks when arriving via one of eight Canadian Preclearance airports in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Alberta.

Like the other TTPs, a Nexus membership is valid for five years and there is no minimum age requirement, but those under 18 must have the consent of a legal guardian or parent to participate in the program.

(Screenshot from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

2. Does Nexus include Global Entry and TSA PreCheck?

It’s a little-known fact that a Nexus membership also includes access to Global Entry and therefore TSA PreCheck security checkpoints as well.

“If you are a U.S. citizen/lawful permanent resident and you provided your passport information and your fingerprints were collected at the enrollment interview, you will automatically be eligible for Global Entry benefits,” says the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Of course, the catch here is that it’s really only beneficial for Americans who live near the Canadian border as only border locations will accept applicants for interviews.

(Screenshot from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

3. As a Nexus holder, how do I get TSA PreCheck when traveling?

The same rules apply still apply as they would for any other TSA PreCheck user, with Nexus or otherwise.

“To receive TSA PreCheck, you must include your known traveler number in the appropriate field of your airline reservation, and the TSA PreCheck® indicator must be visible on your boarding pass,” says DHS. “You will not be eligible to access the TSA PreCheck lane by presenting a trusted traveler card or other documentation.”

Pearson International Airport in Toronto on April 18, 2020. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua/Getty Images)

4. How do I apply for Nexus?

Travelers seeking a Nexus membership should submit an online application in addition to a nonrefundable $50 fee, after which you’ll be prompted to arrange an in-person interview at an enrollment center.

There are 12 U.S. locations across Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Vermont and Washington, and 12 in Canada.

The average processing time for Nexus is currently six months.

Travelers waiting to cross the border into the U.S. at the Peace Arch border crossing on Nov. 8. (Photo by Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

5. How does Nexus work?

“It gives all the same privileges that TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry [do], not just in the US, but in Canada as well. When I fly to Europe out of Toronto, I go through the Nexus expedited security lanes with my shoes on and my laptop in my bag, etc. just as I do in the U.S.,” a TPG reader said via email. “When I return, I simply walk up to the Nexus kiosk, look into the camera, give a couple clicks on the screen and I’m on my way. In today’s world, it seems too good to be true, but the lowest cost program provides the broadest range of benefits.”

The Canada-U.S. border in Surrey, British Columbia, on Nov. 8. (Photo by Liang Sen/Xinhua/Getty Images)

Have a question for next week? Email me at caroline.tanner@thepointsguy.com or tips@thepointsguy.com.

Featured photo of the Canadian and American flags above the Peace Arch border crossing near Vancouver, British Columbia, on Nov. 8 by Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

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