BUFFALO, N.Y. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection is encouraging eligible travelers to apply for NEXUS. The summer travel season is approaching, and officials are predicting record levels of cross border traffic. Travelers can do many things to reduce wait times, but the most effective way to cut through the crowds is to become a NEXUS member.
Over the past few years, Trusted Traveler Program participation in the Buffalo/Niagara Region has grown to over 180,000 enrolled travelers.
“The NEXUS program has so many benefits,” said Director Rose Hilmey of the Buffalo Field Office.“Not only does it red ce your wait when crossing the border, but once a member you have access to the Global Entry kiosks at participating airports and TSA Pre-Check which saves time at airport security screening checkpoints.”
Western New York boasts the only “NEXUS Only” crossing in the U.S., located at the Whirlpool Bridge. Travelers using the bridge rarely wait in line, and are usually over the border in less than five minutes. The Whirlpool Bridge is located between the Rainbow Bridge and the Lewiston Bridge.Whirlpool Bridge is an exclusive benefit for NEXUS members. With an emphasis on keeping border transits as fast as possible, Whirlpool is the only bridge in the Buffalo area without duty free shops at either end.
“The Whirlpool Bridge is a hidden gem when it comes to crossing the border,” said Port Director Cary Frieling of the Port of Buffalo.“The benefit of the Whirlpool Bridge is that only NEXUS members can cross there, which means greatly reduced wait times.”
NEXUS application fees are $50 for adults, and children under the age of 18 are free. Once approved, the cards are good for five years at which time participants must renew their membership.NEXUS enrollment centers in the Buffalo area are located at the U.S. side of the Whirlpool Bridge, and on the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge.
What Is NEXUS?
The NEXUS program allows prescreened travelers expedited processing when entering the U.S. and Canada. Program members use dedicated processing lanes at designated northern border ports of entry, NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada by air, and Global Entry kiosks when entering the U.S. via Canadian pre-clearance airports.NEXUS members also receive expedited processing at marine reporting locations.
How Does NEXUS Work?
At Buffalo land border crossings, program participants proceed to dedicated NEXUS only lanes and present their NEXUS photo-identification cards. All occupants of the vehicle must be enrolled in NEXUS to use the dedicated lanes. In addition to dedicated NEXUS lanes at the Lewiston and Peace Bridges, the Whirlpool Bridge in Niagara Falls is designated as a NEXUS only crossing, available exclusively to NEXUS members. Travelers should note that only a NEXUS card will activate the automatic gates at the Whirlpool Bridge – other Trusted Traveler program members must use another border crossing.
Additional Benefits Of Global Entry Included With NEXUS
Individuals approved to participate in NEXUS receive photo identification cards that allow them to receive expedited passage at NEXUS-dedicated lanes at the land borders (into the U.S. and Canada); NEXUS kiosks at airports when entering Canada; at Global Entry kiosks when entering the U.S. (in the U.S. and at pre-clearance locations); and when traveling by boat, by calling a marine telephone reporting center to report their arrival into the U.S. or Canada. NEXUS members who are U.S. citizens, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, or Canadian citizens also receive the benefits of TSA Pre-Check.
Apply for a NEXUS card today at GOES or visit the Trusted Traveler Programs section of the CBP website.
Other Tips To Reduce Border Wait Times
When crossing the border, vehicle occupants should have identification documents ready for inspection.Remove sunglasses, and remember to declare purchases, including any food or agriculture items purchased outside the U.S. Smart phone users should download the free CBP app which compares waiting times at all border crossings in the Buffalo area.For more information, visit Know Before You Go at CBP.gov.