New NEXUS measures announced to address backlogs

A set of measures has been announced by the Canadian and U.S. governments to address NEXUS application backlogs.

However, it means people wanting into the ‘trusted traveller program’ will have to take part in a pair interviews — one in Canada, the other in the U.S.

Canada Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says the set of measures “will enhance NEXUS applications processing by 50 per cent more than pre-COVID capacity.”

Those measures include “faster renewals, expanded hours of service,” and a “flexible two-step interview process” that Mendicino describes as a “win-win” for both countries.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the “innovative solutions” will “provide applicants with more options.”

“We expect a new enrollment option for air travellers to be available by the spring that will include CBSA interviews at reopened enrollment centers in Canada and separate CBP interviews in Canadian airport preclearance locations for departing applicants,” a joint statement from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reads.

The agencies say more information about the interview option will be available soon.

“In the meantime, applicants may continue to take advantage of existing options for interviews, including combined interviews at U.S. enrollment centers and two-step, separate Canada-U.S. interviews at designated land borders,” the statement continues.

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NEXUS issues began during the pandemic. While NEXUS enrollment centres in the U.S. have been open since April 2022, most of the centres in Canada remained closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The closures were in place because CBP would not send U.S. agents to staff the centres unless they got the same measure of legal protection agents have at existing ports of entry.

The updated measures come after both sides began a pilot project in September 2022, allowing NEXUS applicants to be interviewed on the Canadian side before entering the U.S. to meet with CBP officers.

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