October 26, 2018

Travel Often? Here are 5 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Nexus Passes for Canadians

Posted by Mario Bellissimo - Bellissimo Law Group PC

1. How do you obtain a membership?

The NEXUS program is a voluntary program which allows pre-screened low risk travellers who are deemed admissible to enter both Canada and the United Sates expedited processing when entering these countries.[1] Program members use designate processing lanes without having to go through the usual customs process. It is jointly run by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and US Customs and Border Protection.

2. What is the eligibility process?

A Canadian applicant must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada. Permanent residents of Canada must have lived as legal residents for a minimum of three years before the date of application with few exceptions related to serving in the armed forces.[2]

Once the application has received conditional approval, an interview will be scheduled where a CBSA officer or US Customs Boarder Protection Officer will conduct verification processes and an eligibility review. The membership will then be finalized by the NEXUS Enrolment Centre. The members are given a card identified as the NEXUS membership card. If a new card is issued, all previous cards must be destroyed.[3]

3. Do I have to comply with all the rules and regulations?

As a NEXUS member, the rules are applied very strictly. It includes complying with all customs and immigration laws and regulations, and any other laws or regulations that are enforced by the CBSA and United States Customs and Border Protection. A member is required to have the NEXUS card in their possession when using the services, report all goods being imported, and understand that the membership card is valid for his or her use only.[4]

4. Are you able to cancel your membership?

There is no leniency for carelessness or lack of knowledge.[5] A reason for the cancellation of the NEXUS Membership could be that the individual has been deemed by the United States or Canada to not be of “good character.”[6] The CBSA’s assessment of good character includes a review of the person’s border compliance history, criminal history, immigration violations and intelligence information. CBSA enforcement actions can include (but are not limited to) seizing goods or issuing a penalty or fine.

5. What steps should I take if my card has been cancelled, revoked or seized?

A request for review must be submitted to the CBSA’s Recourse Directorate within 90 days from the date the rejection or cancellation of the membership became effective. It becomes effective either immediately when notified in person or 15 days after the notice is mailed.

If the CBSA Recourse Directorate decides that the enforcement action is warranted, one will have to file two legal proceedings with the Federal Court: (1) a notice of application for judicial review of the NEXUS Membership Cancellation within 30 days of the CBSA Recourse Directorate letter; and (2) a notice of action challenging the enforcement action.