Peace Arch Crossing US Side

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am a frequent traveler to the United States, but I do head down there to attend conferences and trade shows now and then. Vancouver’s relative proximity to the US-Canada border also means that I head south to do some shopping every once in a while too. The trouble is that border lineups can be incredibly frustrating and that’s why I signed up for the NEXUS program several years back.

You can learn more about the NEXUS program from the original FAQ I wrote in 2008, as well as the more recent post I published on the NEXUS renewal process. There’s tons of information in both of those articles, so I’m not going to reiterate them here.

The other day, I received an official NEXUS newsletter in my inbox. It outlined some notable news and updates to the program that may be of interest to both Canadian and American travelers.

  • An additional NEXUS lane has been added to the Canadian side of the border at several land crossings, helping to reduce wait times and speed the flow of traffic. These are at the Pacific Highway crossing between Blaine, WA and Surrey, BC, as well as the crossings at Fort Erie and Queenston in Ontario.
  • A new CATSA eGate is being tested at Vancouver International Airport. If you’re going through the north checkpoint at the domestic terminal, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority will allow you to go through a new eGate for trusted travelers by scanning your boarding pass and NEXUS card.
  • The TSA Pre-Check program has been expanded to more airports in the United States. This is above and beyond the core NEXUS program, but if you sign up for the Pre-Check program with the US Transportation Security Administration, you can expedite your time through airport security both when traveling domestically within the US and when traveling internationally. Airlines that support this include Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, United, US Airways and Virgin America.

It’s not “new” news, but they also recommend that you visit a NEXUS or Global Entry enrollment center to have your fingerprints put on record. While some airports have iris scanners, like YVR, many others use fingerprint readers instead. I had to get my fingerprints scanned when I renewed my NEXUS membership at the Blaine office.

Everything you can do to make traveling less cumbersome and less frustrating is in your best interest. The NEXUS program is a great way to skip a lot of lines and expedite your journeys. I’d also recommend Roam Mobility to Canadians who travel to the States, as they offer a far more affordable way to stay connected than having to pay nasty roaming charges to your main wireless provider.