Pay Your Duty and Taxes Easily with NEXUS
Paying duty and tax if you’re a NEXUS member is a little different than you would normally be used to, and it is much easier and hassle-free. When you return to Canada after your visit to the US, you will be required to key in the amount you spent while away. Any duty that happens to be due will automatically be calculated and billed to your credit card that you have already set up with NEXUS. You do not need to make any additional calculations and payments. Enjoy your trip with Nexus.
NEXUS and FAST Cards are great substitute ID
American and Canadian citizens used to be able to use their birth certificates to cross the border from one country to another; however the tragic events of 9/11 caused the US government to tighten up its borders in an attempt to keep terrorists and undesirables out. Now everyone crossing must have a valid passport unless they are members of the NEXUS or FAST card program. The detailed security checks conducted at the application stage coupled with the biometric data collected at the face to face interview means that all travellers granted NEXUS or FAST passes are able to prove their ID and citizenship. Moreover many other organizations and businesses are recognizing the worth of a NEXUS and FAST card as a proof of identity.
NEXUS cannot be used at the airport unless it is accompanied by a valid passport and a permanent resident card if the passport is from a country other than Canada, however the card’s single usage is permitted at sea and land border crossing points. It must be noted that all people travelling together must hold a valid NEXUS or FAST card and this includes any children and infants. Anyone who does not conform to this requirement will be turned away from the NEXUS or FAST lane and asked to join the queue of regular travellers. Likewise those people who are either a NEXUS or a FAST card holder who queue in one of the regular border crossing lanes will not receive expedited clearance and will be dealt with like any other ordinary traveller.
On 20 August, the long-awaited new border crossing located in Douglas, BC was officially declared open by the Minister of Public Safety, The Honourable Peter Van Loan, and the Member of Parliament for South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, Russ Hiebert.
Apart from speeding up border crossing and preparing for future expansions in traffic flow, the new feature has been designed to radical environmentally-friendly standards and has been entered into the prestigious “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) Gold award.
The use of new technology will significantly aid in the process of making border crossings swift and efficient. The new provision will better serve the general public crossing into the US from BC particularly for those crossing the border at Surrey and Blaine especially in light of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. Minister Van Loan, stated, “Our government is strengthening security at our border while facilitating the flow of goods and people. This new and modern facility demonstrates how we are meeting these two goals through investing in better infrastructure for our border facilities.”
Douglas is one of the country’s busiest ports of entry processing more than 2 million vehicles and over 3 million travellers a year. The number of processing lanes has been increased from seven to ten with two of these lanes dedicated to NEXUS approved travellers.
How to use your NEXUS card
- The first thing to do when you arrive at border check point in either Canada or the USA is to stop your car and wait until you get the signal to move to the border guards kiosk. It’s a good idea at this point for everyone in the car to get out their NEXUS cards. Anyone without a valid card will not be able to cross the border using the NEXUS lane. The rules are very strict on this matter and you will be turned away if one single passenger violates this policy.
- The waiting time will vary between border locations but when the signal to pull up to the booth comes – it will be either in the form of a green traffic light or just as the car in front pulls away – you should display the front of your NEXUS card so that the border guard can see the picture of your face clearly.
- If you NEXUS passes are fairly recent and have RFID embedded into them the signal will automatically be picked up at the kiosk. .
- The border guard may wave you on if he can see that all passengers have a NEXUS card but do be prepared to have to stop and have all NEXUS passes inspected for their validity.
- Once the border guard hands your passes back to you, you are free to continue on your journey.
Children and the NEXUS Card
Canada border patrol officers are skilfully trained to watch for missing children or those who may be being abducted and taken over the Canadian border against their will. Anyone travelling with children especially young children should expect to be questioned in detail about their relationship to the kids.
Parents who are separated or divorced with joint custody for their children need to ensure that they have a copy of their custody document if they plan to take their children across the border. Whilst this document should suffice, it is also worth obtaining a letter from the other parent authorizing the trip. The reason for this level of cautiousness is to satisfy border patrol guards that the children are not being taken from the other custodial parent against their will or worse still being abducted. The parent giving the authorization should include their full name, address and phone numbers on the letter.
Anyone travelling in a group and in more than one car must make sure that they are not separated from their family for example at the border Mums and Dads should travel together with the kids in one car leaving friends and relatives to travel in the other vehicles. This too eliminates any reason for suspicion from the border authorities.
Anyone who is taking someone else’s children over the border should make sure that they too have a letter of authorization from the parents or their legal guardians. This requirement applies to grandparents and other close relatives as well as family friends and carers. Again the authorization letter should include the full contact details of both parents.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)
In another bid to prevent terrorism and to make US borders more difficult to impregnate, the US government formed the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) in 2007 in response to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA).
The initiative demands that all foreign nationals as well as U.S. citizens provide a valid passport as proof of ID. Citizens from foreign countries who do not have a reciprocal visa agreement with the United States must also present valid visas; permanent residents must also prove their residence status.
The goal of the WHTI is twofold: to make entry into America for both U.S. citizens and foreigners with a valid legal visa or residence permit easier and to make borders more secure. Border officials from the Department of Homeland Security can expedite travellers into the US with a quick scan of their passport because passports now must contain sufficient biometric data like fingerprint scans.
Initially the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was only introduced at airports, however in 2009 it was adopted at land and sea ports.
NEXUS Card can substitute passport
On June 1, 2009 the US Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) introduced the need for more secure identity and citizenship documentation at the US / Canadian land or sea borders. Citizens now have to produce either a valid passport and if they are foreign citizens coming from Canada or the US legal visas. For those Canadian citizens without a passport an enhanced driver’s license or a FAST or NEXUS card will also suffice because of the biometric data recorded within the data chip inserted into the card. Exemptions still exist for children less than 15 years of age; for juniors a Canadian or American birth certificate will still suffice as proof of ID and citizenship.
A representative of OFO Office of Public Affairs Liaison, Theodore Woo said, “The passport regulations have been a long time coming. In 2008 no oral declarations were accepted at USA border crossings, in both directions, and people were warned about the 2009 mandatory passport rule.”
Collection of personal data under the United States Privacy Act
The US Privacy A of 1974ct relating to the collection of personal data for both NEXUS and FAST cards states that anyone who fills out the NEXUS or FAST card application form both in hard copy or online is providing their express consent to the US border authorities and other government institutions such as the FBI to collect this information along with viewing supporting documents and taking biometric data such as iris and fingerprint scans. The full details of this consent are laid out in the US Privacy Act under Titles 8 and 19. Anyone providing the required information for the NEXUS or FAST card programmes is doing so by their own free will, which means that applicants do not have to provide information on all questions. The catch here is that those who fail to provide this level of detail are automatically refused their NEXUS or FAST Cards. The voluntary consent given by each applicant on filling out a NEXUS or FAST card application also allows the US government to pass on this data to other government agencies. Applicants should be aware that their data will be used by the US government in the above manner and it will be passed on to comply with the stringent immigration and security checks necessary to ensure each applicants degree of risk.
Collection of personal data under Canada’s Privacy Act
Any information, biometric data and supporting documents collected by the Canadian border authorities on NEXUS and FAST card applications is governed by the Customs Act and the Privacy Act and is stored in the Personal Information Bank; if you wish to check what personal data s stored against your name you must contact Infosource – details can be obtained from government agencies or public libraries. All personal data collected is used to assess the level of risk each NEXUS or FAST card candidate poses to the aims of keeping the US / Canada border safe and secure from acts of terrorism. With stringent immigration and criminal checks the data provided is passed on to other government agencies and organizations to assess each applicants degree of risk to Canada’s border security.