Category: Travel hacks & tips
Author: Michael DeFranceschi • Updated

The NEXUS Card - The Ultimate Travel Hack For US and Canadian Citizens [2024]

For starters, it includes both TSA PreCheck® and Global Entry...
Picture containing both the flag for the United States and the flag for Canada.

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Not only does NEXUS contain both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck® but it also only costs $50. This means NEXUS is cheaper than the two other trusted traveler programs it contains!

Trusted traveler programs are one of my favorite topics to write about as a travel blogger. For a very affordable price, they save you tons of time when dealing with security and customs.

In 2024, the NEXUS card is truly the ultimate hack for both American and Canadian travelers!

Let's explore more of the NEXUS program together.

IN THIS ARTICLE...

The NEXUS Card - The Ultimate Travel Hack For US and Canadian Citizens!

What is NEXUS?

NEXUS is a trusted traveler program recognized by the U.S Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Like any trusted traveler program, you apply for the NEXUS program online and pay a non-refundable fee.

Once the application is complete, an in person interview and background check will be conducted. Americans are interviewed by a member of the U.S Customs and Border Protection and Canadians through a member of the Canada Border Services Agency.

All applicants must be cleared by both the U.S Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency to be accepted.

Once you are approved, you receive an identification card with your photograph called the NEXUS card. Upon receipt of this card, you need to activate it online. You can then immediately harness the amazing benefits of the program.

What is the purpose of a NEXUS card?

The main purpose of a NEXUS card is to give US travelers entering Canada and Canadian travelers entering the US expedited entry when entering the country from air, land, or sea.

NEXUS members enjoy the incredible benefit of being able to use their program for land travel and sea travel as well. This is amazing considering that TSA PreCheck®, Global Entry, and CLEAR are exclusively for air travel.

Since NEXUS members receive a card containing their picture, it can be used in place of a passport in most situations. It is still a very good idea to always bring your passport with you and be sure that your passport is valid.

Air travel for NEXUS members is a little more complicated. When traveling by air from Canada to the U.S, NEXUS members can only use their card as valid ID at Canadian airports with a U.S preclearance area. Otherwise, a passport needs to be used.

Below are the 8 Canadian airports that have U.S preclearance. They are alphabetized by the airport's name.

  • Calgary International Airport (YYC)
  • Edmonton International Airport (CYEG, YEG)
  • Halifax Stanfield International Airport (CYHZ, YHZ)
  • Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
  • Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport (CYOW, YOW)
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
  • Winnipeg International Airport (YWG)

When traveling by air from the U.S to Canada, Americans either use a NEXUS or Global Entry kiosks. There are less NEXUS kiosks than Global Entry kiosks.

Below are the 53 U.S airports and 29 states with Global Entry kiosks. They are alphabetized by state name.


Alaska: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), Fairbanks International Airport (FAI)

Arizona: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

California: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Oakland International Airport (OAK), Ontario International Airport (ONT), San Diego International Airport (SAN), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), Sacramento International Airport (SMF), John Wayne Airport (SNA)

Colorado: Denver International Airport (DEN)

Connecticut: Bradley International Airport (BDL)

Florida: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Miami International Airport (MIA), Orlando International Airport (MCO), Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB), Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), Tampa International Airport (TPA)

Georgia: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

Hawaii: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)

Illinois: Midway International Airport (MDW), O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Indiana: Indianapolis International Airport (IND), South Bend International Airport (SBN)

Kentucky: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)

Louisiana: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)

Massachusetts: Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)

Michigan: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)

Minnesota: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)

Missouri: Kansas City International Airport (MCI), St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)

Nevada: Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)

New Jersey: Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

New York: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York Stewart International Airport (SWF)

North Carolina: Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)

Ohio: Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE), Toledo Express Airport (TOL)

Oregon: Portland International Airport (PDX)

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

Rhode Island: Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport (PVD)

Tennessee: Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Texas: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), , San Antonio International Airport (SAT)

Utah: Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)

Washington: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE)

What is the cost of a NEXUS card?

The cost of a NEXUS card is $50. It is non-refundable when you apply.

NEXUS lasts up to five years. The monthly cost of $50 spanning five years amounts to $0.83. This means for less than a dollar a month, you get the incredible privlege of expedited entry into Canada or the U.S by air, land, and sea!

The cost of TSA PreCheck® is $78 and the cost of Global Entry is $100. NEXUS is cheaper than both programs yet contains them both.

This fact about NEXUS truly blew my mind.

Who is eligible for a NEXUS card?

Those eligible to apply for the NEXUS card include U.S citizens, U.S lawful residents, Canadian citizens, and Canadian lawful residents. In addition, Mexican nationals who have the Mexican trusted traveler program Viajero Confiable are also eligible to apply.

You must be 18 years of age or older to apply. If you are younger than 18 years of age, consent from a parent or legal guardian will be required to obtain a NEXUS card.

If you have any sort of criminal history or pending criminal charges, whether in the US, Canada, or even other countries, your odds of approval for a NEXUS card are low.

How to apply for a NEXUS card

There are three portions to the NEXUS enrollment process: application, interview, and card activation.

The first portion is the application. The only way to apply for NEXUS is online.

The second portion is the interview and background check at an enrollment center. U.S applicants will complete this step of the process with a member of the U.S Customs and Border Protection and Canadian applicants will complete this step of the process with a member of the Canada Border Services Agency.

The third portion is the receiving and activation of the NEXUS card. Before one can start reaping the NEXUS benefits, the card must be activated online.

NEXUS benefits

NEXUS benefits include receiving Global Entry for no additional cost.

The inclusion of Global Entry is a major benefit since applying for Global Entry separately costs $100. The cost of NEXUS is only $50.

Global Entry allows for expedited customs screening in 15 countries upon return to the US. Since Global Entry does not work for Canadian airports, this benefit is more useful for US travelers.

Additional, US travelers will benefit even more than Canadian travelers because Global Entry also contains TSA PreCheck®. So, when applying for NEXUS, US travelers transitively receive TSA PreCheck® as well.

TSA PreCheck ® gives US travelers flying within the US quicker and less intrustive security screening. Over 200+ airports in the US accept TSA PreCheck® so there is plenty opportunity to use it.

While Canadians will still find the faster entry into the U.S useful and worth it, NEXUS benefits US-based travelers more.

How long does it take to get a NEXUS card in 2024?

The big downside to NEXUS is its long processing time.

At the time of this writing, it is currently taking 12-14 months to process applications.

Given the fact that NEXUS only costs $50 and lasts up to five years, equating to less than a dollar per month to use, I feel the waiting time should not deter you at all from applying for it.

Conclusion

I wish I would have learned of NEXUS sooner!

I paid for TSA PreCheck® on its own before I had learned that NEXUS existed!

The inclusion of Global Entry and TSA PreCheck® and NEXUS costing less than both programs make the NEXUS the best trusted traveler program out there-- even with its 12-14 month processing time.

My American and Canadian readers-- I was happy to share this information about NEXUS and the NEXUS card with you and I'm sure you see what a powerful travel hack it is!


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