James Tourtellotte/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

It’s the fastest way to visit America’s attic (or Canada’s basement).

February 16, 2017

Canada and the United States share 5,525 miles of border: the longest international border in the world. With a common language and a common love for Drake and Ryan Gosling, it’s easy to cross over—no matter what the direction—and even easier with a NEXUS Pass.

Since 2008, moving between Canada and the United States has required showing proof of citizenship or permanent residency, usually in the form of a passport or residency card. Similar to the U.S.’s Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network, NEXUS pre-screens travelers to allow them to move more speedily through border crossings. NEXUS members can use dedicated lanes at land crossings, and dedicated kiosks when arriving at a U.S. or Canadian airport.

Membership is open to citizens and permanent residents of both countries who have not been convicted of a crime, who have no outstanding warrants, who are not subject to an ongoing law enforcement agency, and who have not violated customs, immigration, or agriculture-related laws. Both Canada as well as the United States must approve a member’s application. Applications can be sent in by mail or online, through the Global Online Enrollment System. (The latter requires creating an account.) The fee to apply online is $50 USD, by mail, $50 CAD.

After your application has been processed, and you’ve been approved to move to the next stage, you will be notified (whether online or by mail) to set up an interview at a NEXUS Enrollment Center. Enrollment offices are located in Canada at Fort Erie, Calgary, Edmonton, Enfield, Belleville, Landsdowne, Montreal, Ottawa, Mississauga, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. In the United States, NEXUS Enrollment Centers can be found in Calais, Maine; Derby Line, Vermont; Champlain, New York; Niagara Falls, New York; Pembina, North Dakota; Detroit, Michigan; Port Huron, Michigan; Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; International Falls, Minnesota; Warroad, Minnesota; Sweetgrass, Montana; Blaine, Washington; and Seattle, Washington.

NEXUS members are issued a photo identification card that can be used at future border crossings and in airports. When entering the United States from Canada, NEXUS members can also use reserved Global Entry kiosks.

Travelers frequently driving back and forth between Canada may also want to consider a SENTRI pass. Though this option is only valid for land border ports, it also allows for speedy travel back and forth between Mexican land crossings, too. 

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