Wolfsdorf Rosentahl LLP

CBP Launches Online Application for Cross-Border Travel Program


Cross-border travelers wishing to apply for Nexus now are able to do so through a new, online application system. Nexus is a frequent traveler program between the U.S. and Canada. Applicants voluntarily undergo a background check, in-person interview, and fingerprinting, and pay a $50 five-year membership fee. Under the new system, individuals may submit an online application and pay the membership fee.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner W. Ralph Basham said the program “has tremendous benefits for our law enforcement officials as well as travelers, particularly as it has been proposed as an alternative document to a passport under new document requirements, and we want to encourage new members to sign up.”

First implemented in 2000, the Nexus program has grown to include 15 lanes at 11 locations along the U.S.-Canada border, at marine reporting locations border-wide, and at five Canadian airports. The Nexus card also has been proposed as an accepted alternative to a passport under new travel document requirements, slated to go into effect for land and sea crossings as early as summer 2008. Ample advance notice and a robust public information campaign will precede full implementation of this requirement. The Nexus card is also acceptable as an alternative to a passport for air travel, a requirement that went into effect January 23, 2007.

Currently, U.S. and Canadian citizens are not required to present a passport or specific document when seeking to enter or re-enter the U.S. at land and sea crossings. CBP “highly encourages travelers to carry, at minimum, proof of citizenship such as a certified copy of your birth certificate, along with government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license.”

Once an applicant is notified that he or she is conditionally approved through the online Nexus account, the applicant schedules an appointment, also through the online account, to complete the interview and fingerprint process and to obtain the membership card. Approved members have access to dedicated commuter lanes, airport kiosks and telephonic marine reporting that allows expedited processing. Key benefits of the new online application system include expediting the entire application and vetting process, and streamlining the processing time for new applicants and renewals, CBP said, noting that individuals who have already mailed their application to the Canada Border Services Agency should continue with this process.

More than 133,000 travelers from both sides of the border are enrolled in the program, which accounts for more than six percent of border crossings. Travelers may call the CBP Help Desk at 1-800-927-8729 (press 0, then 1 for technical support); or the Canada Border Services Agency Help Desk at 1-888-281-5778 for French calls; or e-mail SGIL-AIDE@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca.

The announcement is at www.customs.treas.gov. The online application is available at www.customs.treas.gov.

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Ivener & Fullmer LLP, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.

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