“So, this is how it feels to be a VIP”
That was my first thought when I crossed the US-Canada border with my newly minted NEXUS Card. I had found a shortcut though one of the most painful aspects of being an American living in a Canadian border town. But after using it for the past five years, some of the shine has worn off that shiny golden ticket. The question is, what has caused my disappointment with the NEXUS card?
Why did I get one in the first place?
I wanted to get across the border fast. Let’s be honest, that’s the only reason I got one. Never mind the other advantages. I didn’t want to wait for an hour every time I crossed the border. When you’re an American citizen living so close to the US, you cross the border a lot. And sitting in line at that border is the worst kind of traffic jam. I mean, who wants to wait in line to talk to a cop?
Initially, the advantages of the NEXUS card blew me away. There were times when I could leave my house and complete a trip to the US in under an hour. The guards seemed less suspicious and as a result I felt a lot less stress.
Then came the reality check
Over time, the advantages appeared to fall away. It seemed like everyone else in the lower mainland went and got a NEXUS card. The lines for it weren’t any shorter than the other lines.
In addition to being just as long, they moved just as slowly. My days of feeling like a VIP evaporated with the sight of oversized RV’s coming up from behind and crossing before me.
When I first got my NEXUS card, I had to go through extensive background checks. This should’ve meant that I wouldn’t have to answer as many questions at the border. But if that was the case, the agents didn’t appear to know or care. In fact, border agents have directed me inside twice, and both times I’ve had my NEXUS card.
How hard is it to get a NEXUS card renewal?
Admittedly, this has more to do with my wife than myself. She applied for her new NEXUS card almost a year before me. Yet I got my new card in about six months, and she has yet to get hers. This was nearly one-and-a-half years ago!
Recently, Customs and Border Protection sent my wife a letter informing her that she could go in for her NEXUS interview…in Blaine, WA. They sent her this letter when the US-Canada border was still closed! Even now that it’s open, is it really worth the trouble of going through all the COVID-19 protocols to get one?
What is up with CBP?
Much of my disappointment with the NEXUS card comes from my experiences crossing into the US. For some reason, the guards on that side of the border seem to be a lot more confrontational. And according to the news, they’re also a lot more likely to revoke NEXUS cards.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still glad I have NEXUS. I’ve yet to use it for air travel, but I hear it can be quite a lifesaver. At worse, it’s just another way I can get across the border. If I don’t like it, I can always use the regular lines.