By Mitchell Consky, CTVNews.ca writer
TORONTO (CTV Network) — In an effort to mitigate the backlog of Nexus applicants awaiting interviews, Public Safety Canada and U.S. Department of Homeland Security have announced that applicants will now have more opportunities to complete interviews, with extended hours of service and allowing applicants to complete interviews near Canadian airports
“These efforts have been made to ensure every qualified U.S. and Canadian traveler has the opportunity to benefit from the facilitated travel that Nexus brings, supporting communities and economic interests on both sides of the border,” the statement said.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have been able to accelerate approval for over 80 per cent of renewing applicants, while also extending benefits for the qualified applicants for up to five years beyond their membership expiration date while interviews are pending.
“Since Oct. 1, 2022, CBP and CBSA have completed a record-breaking 203,000 Nexus enrollments and reduced the net backlog of applicants by 100,000,” the statement said.
Nexus enrollment options for air travelers are expected to be available by spring, including CBSA interviews at reopened enrollment centres in Canada and “separate CBP interviews in Canadian airport preclearance locations for departing applicants.”
The federal government also announced in December the reopening of the two Canadian enrollment centres in an attempt to increase the availability for potential applicants to book appointments, with interviews now being scheduled at the Lansdowne, Ont. (Thousand Islands Bridge) and Fort Erie, Ont. (Peace Bridge).
Intended to free up more time for Canadian and U.S. border security agents and provide accelerated border clearance for travellers, the Nexus program has over 1.7 million members.
“Details for this new interview option will be available shortly from CBP and CBSA,” the statement added. “In the meantime, applicants may continue to take advantage of existing options for interviews, including combined interviews at U.S. enrollment centers and two-step, separate Canada-U.S. interviews at designated land borders.”
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