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By Mark

What is NEXUS?

NEXUS is a program designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travelers into Canada and the United States.  Naturally, criminal records can hamper this process as they go against the “low-risk” requirement of obtaining a NEXUS Card. This is just one of many ways that having a criminal record in Canada can hamper your travel opportunities. If you are one of the millions of Canadians with a criminal record, and wish to look into obtaining a NEXUS pass, we have compiled some information that you should know.

What is the Process of applying for a NEXUS Card?

You will need to report to an enrollment centre where a review of your original documents and a full interview will occur.

You will then be interviewed by a Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) and/or U.S. Center for Border Protection (CBP) officer, who will:

  1. review the information you provided on your application form to make sure it is still valid;
  2. verify your identity and review original documents such as proof of citizenship and residency documents, work permits and visas;
  3. ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements for membership; and
  4. your fingerprints will be taken.

Can I apply for a NEXUS card if I have a Record Suspension?

Yes, however for someone with a Pardon/Record Suspension, whether or not you will be approved is a much more difficult question to answer. According to the NEXUS website, you may NOT be eligible if:

you have been convicted of a serious criminal offence in any country for which you have not received a pardon (for U.S. background checks you may be questioned about your full criminal history, including arrests and pardons, which may exclude you from NEXUS);

When you report to the enrollment centre, a review of your original documents and a full interview will occur. When determining if you will be granted a NEXUS Card, you may be questioned by an officer about your full criminal history, including arrests and pardons. Both Canada and the United States must approve your application in order to become a member of the NEXUS program. Therefore, if one of the countries deems you ineligible, your application will be denied.

If I am denied a NEXUS card, will it affect my future travel?

According to NEXUS, details surrounding your denial will not appear on the CBSA’s records, however it is not known if the Department of Homeland Security will follow the same protocol. Those who have received a pardon and have never been denied at the USA border should be cautious of potentially putting themselves in a position where the US border agents could flag them for travel into their country due to the criminal background interviews conducted while applying for a NEXUS. As mentioned, an officer may ask you about your full criminal history during your interview. Because the US does not recognize a Pardon/Record Suspension, they may deem you to be ineligible for a NEXUS pass, and potentially flag you for future travel. Because of the potential risk of the US flagging your future travel based on any information gathered during the NEXUS application process, those with a Pardon/Record Suspension should consider forgoing the NEXUS process, and avoiding any possible complications with their travel into the US.

Sources

Nexus Main Page & Contact Numbers

http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/menu-eng.html

How to Apply

http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/application-demande-eng.html

Enrollment Process & List of Nexus Enrollment Centres

http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/enrol-inscrire-eng.html