Waiting for NEXUS? Airport NEXUS enrolment centres finally reopen this spring

After being closed for almost a year, NEXUS enrolment centres in Canadian airports are set to reopen – although joint interviews with Canadian and U.S. border officers will no longer be possible.

On March 20, 2023, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced all eight NEXUS enrolment centres in Canadian airports would reopen by the end of April, allowing Canadian residents who apply for NEXUS membership to obtain their cards more quickly. The centres were temporarily shuttered while Canadian and U.S. officials clashed over the legal protections offered to American officers working at the centres.

The NEXUS program allows pre-approved travellers to cross the Canadian and U.S. borders more quickly. Once applicants are conditionally approved for a NEXUS card, they must be interviewed by CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to confirm the information in their application is still valid and they meet the eligibility requirements. Some NEXUS renewals may also require interviews.

Applicants must book interviews in advance

Travellers with conditional approval for NEXUS cards can now begin booking interview appointments at airport enrolment centres.

Previously, CBSA and CBP officers interviewed applicants together. Applicants will now complete their interviews with CBSA officers at an airport enrolment centre and their interviews with CBP officers at a preclearance location when they depart Canada to fly to the U.S.

The interviews do not have to be completed on the same day or at the same airport – you can complete your CBP interview at an airport enrolment centre even if you are not flying to the U.S. the same day.

The Winnipeg and Halifax international airports will reopen their enrolment centres on March 27, 2023, followed by Vancouver on April 3, 2023, Calgary and Edmonton on April 12, 2023, Montreal on April 17, 2023, and Toronto and Ottawa on April 24, 2023.

Other options for interviews

There are two other options for NEXUS applicants to complete their CBSA and CBP interviews.

Applicants may choose joint interviews with CBSA and CBP officers at one of 14 land enrolment centres in the U.S. They may also choose a CBSA interview at one of two land enrolment centres in Canada, followed by a CBP interview at a U.S. land enrolment centre across the border at the point of entry.

Once an applicant is pre-approved for a NEXUS card, they have five years to complete their interviews. Both interviews must be completed in the same mode – either at an airport or land enrolment centre.

Added convenience for travellers

While the cessation of joint interviews at airport enrolment centres may seem inconvenient, the fact that these centres will soon be up and running after almost a year of downtime will come as welcome news to travellers looking to obtain a NEXUS card.

The lawyers at MLT Aikins have wide-ranging experience advising businesses and individuals on a variety of immigration matters. If you have questions about the NEXUS program or other options for business travel to and from the U.S., contact a member of our Immigration team.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.