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NEXUS aims to make border crossing easier for residents

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FORT FRANCES—“Cross often? Make it simple, use NEXUS.”

That catch-phrase will apply to Borderland residents next year as an enrolment centre and travel lane for NEXUS, a program designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the United States, are expected be opened in International Falls.

“That is the intent. We don’t know when yet, but there is a plan for it,” Linda Lovless, U.S. Customs and Border Protection port director at the International Falls crossing, confirmed Tuesday.

The NEXUS enrolment centre will be at the site of the former Minnesota travel information centre at Second Avenue and Fourth Street.

Once the centre is open, those wanting to apply for a NEXUS card will be able to apply online at either the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or U.S. CBP websites, or fill out a paper application.

(NEXUS is a joint-venture of the two border agencies).

They also must pay a fee (currently, this is $80 for Canadians and $50 for Americans). They’ll then schedule an interview at the enrolment centre.

During the interview, a customs officer will:

•review the information you provided on your application form to make sure it is still valid;

•verify your identity, and review original documents such as proof of citizenship, residency, work permits, and visas;

•finalize eligibility requirements for membership; and

•take your fingerprints.

If you are accepted into NEXUS, the officer will:

•explain the terms and conditions of NEXUS;

•take a digital photograph of your irises to verify your identity each time you enter Canada or the U.S. in the air mode using the self-serve kiosks;

•take a digital photograph of your face and issue your membership card;

•explain the Travellers Declaration Card process (for Canadians only); and

•show you how to use the self-serve kiosks for the air mode, and also explain how to clear the border in the land and marine modes.

The NEXUS card will be an acceptable alternative to passports when entering the U.S. by land or sea under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).

As it stands now, WHTI requires all travellers, including U.S. citizens and Canadians, to carry a valid passport or other approved secure document when travelling to, or through, the U.S. by air.

This requirement is expected to be extended to land and sea travel by next summer.

According to the CBSA, NEXUS membership will allow you to save time by:

•enjoying a quick and simplified entry process while travelling back and forth between Canada and the U.S., using dedicated lanes at the land border;

•crossing the border more quickly, using automated NEXUS self-serve kiosks in designated areas at participating international airports; and

•reporting to border officials by phone in advance of arrival in the marine mode.

You also can use your NEXUS card at a NEXUS kiosk at participating airports as an alternative to a passport when entering the U.S. by air.

NEXUS members using the air mode can enter Canada using the kiosks regardless of where they are coming from. For example, a NEXUS member returning from France arriving in Montreal can use the self-serve kiosk.

According to the CBSA website, you may qualify to participate in NEXUS if you are a citizen or permanent resident of Canada or the U.S., and have lived in Canada and/or the U.S. continuously for the last three years.

You may not qualify if you:

•are inadmissible to Canada or the United States under applicable immigration laws;

•provide false or incomplete information on your application;

•have been convicted of a criminal offence, in any country, for which you have not received a pardon (for U.S. background checks, you may be questioned about full criminal history, including arrests and pardons, which may exclude you from NEXUS);

•have been found in violation of customs or immigration law; or

•fail to meet other requirements of NEXUS.

Both countries must approve your application for you to become a member of NEXUS. If you do not meet any of the requirements, they will deny your application.

Children under the age of 18 will need the consent of a parent or legal guardian to enrol in NEXUS.

At the interview, children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by at least one custodial parent or guardian, and customs will need documentary evidence of custody with no restrictions on removal from the custodial jurisdiction.

The documents presented to the officer at the NEXUS enrolment centre have to establish that the adult or adults are the parents or legal guardians.

(Fort Frances Times)

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