Five years can slip by before you know it. If you're a traveler who uses the NEXUS program to travel between the United States and Canada, you may want to make sure your membership stays up to date. Mark your membership expiration date on your calendar so you can begin your NEXUS card renewal process a few months beforehand to enjoy another five years of smoother border crossings.
NEXUS card renewal requirements
When the time comes to renew your NEXUS card, there are several aspects to the process.
- Submitting your application and going through the registration process
- Meeting all eligibility criteria, including being deemed admissible into both the United States and Canada
- Passing separate risk assessments by each country
At the renewal stage you will once again be required to pass a background check and complete an interview at an enrollment center. The background check includes cross-checking against databases from the following agencies:
- U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- United Nations
- Canadian Security Intelligence Service
- U.K. national security and law enforcement
In addition, to use NEXUS in Canadian airports, you must first have data from your iris captured. Airports in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax in addition to some select land enrollment centers may be able to capture when applying for the first this data for you. If you did this during your initial application process, however, you do not have to do it for the renewal.
Process for how to renew a NEXUS card
The actual process for renewing NEXUS cards will likely be familiar, as it's like the initial application process.
- Apply. You'll begin by applying online through U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Trusted Traveler Programs website. The application is multi-step and requires your complete five-year travel history. After completing the application, you will have to pay the $50 fee. Your application will then be moved to “pending review." As a Chase Sapphire Reserve® customer, you could receive a statement credit of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement of your application fee.
- Schedule. If you are approved after the initial application, your status will be changed to “conditional approval." This means it's time to schedule your interview at an enrollment center. You have 30 days after being notified to schedule the interview before losing conditional approval.
- Interview. You will interview with both Canadian and American agents. Canadian agents typically want a full understanding of your travel to Canada, particularly if you're going for work. The U.S. agent will likely go over your background and travel history and clarify any discrepancies. You can do both of these interviews at a U.S. enrollment center, split them between a U.S. enrollment center and a Canadian land enrollment center, or a two-step process for air travelers that has been added.
- Wait. As long as all goes well at the interviews, you will likely hear about your approval fairly quickly. Your new NEXUS card will be mailed to you, but your old one is valid until the listed expiration date.
When to renew your NEXUS card
You can start the renewal process one year before your NEXUS membership expires. In the past, both border agencies recommended beginning renewal 90 days before expiration. However, with recent delays and backlogs, the process may take as long as 12-14 months.
Due to this, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Canadian Border Services Agency may allow continued use of expired NEXUS cards provided you submitted an application for renewal by the expiration date. You can print out a copy of your pending renewal to show border agents.
You will likely want to start the application renewal as soon as you're eligible to give yourself the best chance at receiving a new card before the expiration date. Check in on your Trusted Traveler Program portal regularly for updates so you can stay on top of any requests that come in.
The NEXUS card renewal process may feel a bit like déjà vu, as it's very similar to the original application process. You may want to start renewing as soon as you can, as the system is currently backed up with applications and it may take longer than usual. Once your new card is in hand, you should be set for another five years of smooth travel.