Five years ago, I wrote a NEXUS FAQ that outlined everything you want to know about getting a NEXUS card. If you are unfamiliar with the NEXUS program or you have any questions about the initial application process, then I recommend that you have a look at that blog post first.

As a quick refresher, the NEXUS program is for “trusted travelers” between Canada and the United States. It grants you access to special lines at land border crossings, as well as at the airport and other transportation hubs. The NEXUS line is almost always shorter and you can also get to use a special line for airport security, even if you are only traveling domestically within Canada. When you arrive by air internationally, there is usually a special NEXUS line (at select airports) for checking in with Canadian customs too.

Today’s post, as you can likely surmise from the title, focuses on questions you may have about the NEXUS renewal process. The membership only lasts for five years at a time, so you will need to renew if you want to continue enjoying the associated privileges. Speaking for myself, I have used my NEXUS pass extensively for quick drives to Seattle, as well as longer trips like flying to New York and Las Vegas.

1. How do I apply to renew my NEXUS membership?

I was hoping that the renewal process would be far more automatic, but it really isn’t. Once again, you’ll need to log into the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES), run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. From there, you’ll find a link where you can manage your NEXUS membership and apply for renewal. They’ll ask you many of the same kinds of questions — work history, address history, passport number, etc. — but many of these fields will be pre-populated with your existing information. When you’re done, you click submit and you play the same waiting game.

2. How much does it cost?

The renewal application requires the same non-refundable $50 fee as an original application. This is payable by credit card via the online portal.

3. How soon should I apply for renewal?

They recommend that you submit your renewal application up to 90 days before your current NEXUS membership expires. You can do it even sooner if you’d like. I would highly recommend that you do it sooner rather than later if you want to enjoy uninterrupted service, because they will still take several weeks to review your application. You can follow the progress of your application through the same GOES online portal.

4. Do I need to go for another interview?

Maybe. Both Susanne and I applied for our NEXUS renewals at the same time. She received an approval e-mail several weeks later and the replacement NEXUS card some time after that. I, on the other hand, received a “conditional approval” and had to schedule another interview. No explanation was given. This is why it is in your best interest to renew as early as possible, as NEXUS interviews get booked up weeks or even months in advance.

The good news is that the renewal interview was far shorter and less interrogation-like in nature. The border agent simply confirmed the information that was on my application and walked me through some basic information (that I already knew). The interview itself lasted no more than 10-15 minutes.

5. Will they need to take a new photograph?

If you go in for another interview, there’s a good chance that they’ll take another picture of you. They will also digitally scan your fingerprints, as this is how the Global Entry kiosks work at select airports. Other airports, as you may already know, use an iris scanner. If you’d like to use your NEXUS for air travel, you should have both your fingerprints and iris scans on record.

6. Is the replacement card issued immediately?

Whereas I received my first NEXUS card immediately following the interview, this was not the case with the replacement. I received it through the mail about two weeks later. Your mileage may vary.

7. When will my new NEXUS card expire?

The NEXUS card is valid for at least five years, expiring on your birthday.

Any more questions?

For the most part, renewing your NEXUS membership is very similar to applying for one in the first place. It helps that your application will come pre-populated with known data already and, if you do need to go in for an interview, they probably won’t ask you as many questions. I should also note that when you are coming back across the border via a land crossing, you can simply offer an oral declaration in the NEXUS lane; the written Traveler Declaration Form (TDC) is completely optional.

I am in no way associated with the Canada Border Services Agency or U.S. Customs and Border Protection, so this NEXUS FAQ is provided for informational purposes only and is based entirely on my personal experience. That said, if you have any other questions related to NEXUS, please don’t hesitate to ask via the comment form below and I’ll answer it to the best of my ability.