Preparing for a NEXUS interview can feel nerve-wracking. The thought of being interrogated by a government official might give you some images of being in a dark concrete room with no windows, a table in the center of the room, two chairs, a single lamp above you, and a grumpy-looking man sitting across from you flipping through your paperwork.
Let me tell you, it's nothing like that, and it isn't that bad.
This article will walk you through how to prepare for the interview and help relieve you of stress.
Basics of the NEXUS Program and Its Benefits
The bilateral NEXUS government program makes the travel experience significantly more enjoyable for frequent travelers between the US and Canada.
NEXUS members can bypass long wait lines at United States Customers and Border Protection (CBP) and Canada's Border Services Agency (CBSA) by using dedicated processing lanes at designated northern border ports of entry.
The NEXUS Application Process
Applying for the NEXUS program begins with filling out an application on the Trusted Traveler Program website.
The application will ask that you disclose any criminal history or immigration issues that could affect your eligibility as a NEXUS applicant.
After completing the application, it'll take about 30 business days for it to be processed.
Once your application is processed and conditionally approved, you'll need to schedule an interview at a NEXUS enrollment center.
Booking Your NEXUS Interview Appointment
Booking your NEXUS interview appointment is straightforward. Go to the NEXUS scheduling page on the TTP website to select your preferred interview location and select a time that works for you.
You will need to schedule two separate CBP interviews at a NEXUS Enrollment Center which can be in the US or Canada. Each interview is approximately 15 minutes long - one with US customs and another with Canadian customs officers.
As of June 1, 2023, there are over 270,000 people waiting for a Nexus interview.
That means you're competing with hundreds of thousands of people for an interview appointment and you might not find an appointment available for months.
What to Expect at the NEXUS Interview
Now that you've scheduled your interview, what can you expect?
During the interview, the officers will review the information you submitted in your application, verify your identity, and review your supporting documents.
You should bring all required documents, such as a valid passport, documents providing evidence of residency, and a permanent resident card (if applicable).
After the interview, the officers will take your fingerprints and take your photo for the NEXUS membership card.
What to Bring to the NEXUS Interview
Here are the things to bring to your NEXUS interview:
- Proof of citizenship (copy or original)
- Passport (if you travel using more than one, then bring all of them to the interview)
- Citizenship Card
- Birth Certificate
- A valid driver's license
- Registration title and papers for the vehicle that you intend to use for crossing the border
- Poof of custody for child/children under 18 years
- NEXUS approval letter
You should also wear something you'd like to see in your picture for the next five years, as your picture will be taken at the interview and printed on your NEXUS card.
Commonly Asked NEXUS Interview Questions
You'll be asked basic questions about your background, travel plans, and criminal history.
Here are some common questions asked during a NEXUS interview:
- "Why do you want the Nexus card?"
- "How often do you plan to use the NEXUS pass?"
- "Where do you think you will travel to in Canada and the United States?"
- “Have there been any changes since your application?”
Post-Nexus Interview Process
You'll be told your final approval status by a CBSA officer at the end of your interview session. This is usually immediate but can sometimes take up to 24 hours.
If approved, you'll usually receive your NEXUS card between 7-10 business days.
Good luck with the interview!
The NEXUS interview process isn't daunting if you've properly prepared for it.
Remember that honesty is paramount when answering questions about your travel plans or criminal history.
Once you pass the interview, you'll be well on your way to smooth traveling between Canada and the US.