Is Nexus free? How much does Nexus cost? Technically no it isn’t for adults, but the Nexus card is probably one of the best $50 USD purchase that I have made, ever. That’s the truth.
Even though it is $50 USD, there is a way to actually get the card for free (and get Nexus renewal for free too), this post will go over the cost of Nexus card for adults and the cost of the Nexus card for children under 18, in addition how you can get it for free.
I first got the Nexus Trusted Traveler Program in 2013. Before that, I used to think that it was a lot of money, or a big hassle to apply for the program for just crossing the US/Canada border (which I do maybe 1-2 times a year). Someone I was dating suggested I get the Nexus card, and I thought okay, why not. It was a long process though but now that I have it is a breeze and has made my traveling life so much easier.
Table of Contents
What is The Nexus Card
The NEXUS program is a collaboration between the United States and Canada to speed up border crossings for low risk pre-approved travellers. It is run by both the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) and the US Customs and Border Protection.
The Nexus card can be used at airports (where it is available), land border crossings, and marine ports of entry. It provides a faster way to get through the borders for approved participants.
How Much Does Nexus Cost?
The Nexus card cost in Canada is $50 USD.
This is a non-refundable application processing fee. It is the same if you applied for the Nexus if you are American and live in the United States.
The Nexus card is valid for 5 years, so that means it is $10 USD per year.
The Nexus card is free for children under age 18.
As mentioned above, I’d gladly pay $50 USD because it’s such a great deal and has improved the quality of travel life greatly.
Nexus Card Benefits
The great thing about Nexus Canada is that Nexus membership free for children under the age of 18. FREE! Of course they will be traveling with you and therefore you will need to have a Nexus membership which doesn’t help you avoid the $50 USD Nexus membership.
As mentioned above, with land crossings, the wait time is minimal (like 5 minutes, maybe 10 minutes max with all the crossings that I have done) versus something like 45 minutes to an hour with the non-Nexus line.
At Canadian airports (and some US airports that support Nexus) you can bypass the security line up and opt for the Nexus line up. It’s usually much faster. Though if you are traveling with young children, you usually get to bypass the line anyway so the Nexus card doesn’t save you that much time I suppose.
You can also go through the TSA pre-check with the Nexus card. When booking flights, all you need to do is enter your PASS ID number from your NEXUS card into the Known Traveler Number field or you could let your ticketing agent know at check in that you have a NEXUS card. The agent will stamp your boarding pass and then you’ll breeze through the airports very quickly.
I’ve had the Nexus card for 10 years now and I just found that out recently!
Lastly, since you are vigorously screened already the customs officers are much kinder and often they ask minimal questions. Usually it’s just how much you spent or what you’re declaring. Often even if I go over they seem to be lenient and don’t charge me taxes or duties even though I go over.
Nexus Card Downsides
I’ve touted the amazing benefits of the Nexus card, now what are the downsides?
Some of the downsides of Nexus is that with the Nexus card, comes great responsibility.
Meaning you can’t mess around. If you lie or bring something across the border that you’re not supposed to (e.g. alcohol when you’re less than 48 hours away) you will be in trouble.
If you break the rules you can get a ban on your Nexus membership.
One time we were frazzled traveling with our toddler and I think I packed a mandarin orange in our carry on to be eaten on the plane before we arrive in the United States (I really didn’t intend to carry fruits with seeds into the US and disrupt their fauna and flora), and we got a very stern talking to and even warning that our Nexus membership could be revoked.
Finally, the most important downside is the backlog of applications there are because of the pandemic. The offices were closed during the pandemic. In order to get approved for Nexus initially in 2013, I had to get my irises scanned at the airport and go to an interview. It was quite the process.
Currently if your Nexus is up for renewal, you just have to renew (you’ll need all the countries outside of Canada, Mexico, and the United States in the past five years) online. There will be an interview process but likely not for a while.
How to Get Nexus For Free
There are multiple cards in the US market that gives you the opportunity to get the Global Entry for free. This didn’t use to be the case, I would say it seems to have been added in the past 5 years or so.
Many of them are even first year free.
Here is a list of some of them in no order of significance.
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card has an annual fee of $139 but they often have a first year free promotion going on.
The CIBC Aventura Visa will give you a statement reimbursement of up to $100 CAD for your NEXUS card. You can get a rebate once every 4 years.
One great benefit on top of the Nexus card reimbursement this card has is four free Airport Lounge passes.
Here is my CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card review.
CIBC Aventura Gold Card
The CIBC Aventura Gold card is often also First Year Free card and has up to a $100 CAD Nexus rebate every 48 months. Otherwise, it is $139 per year.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite usually a First Year Free card.
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite provides up to a $100 CAD rebate on a Nexus fee every 4 years, or 48 months. This includes a rebate for additional cardholders too.
I used this recently for my Nexus renewal. Here is my recent Nexus rebate that showed up about a day after it got posted. This was a $50 USD charge that was reversed thanks to TD Aeroplan’s benefits.
This makes the Nexus pass cost even better, because it is free. People can’t complain about free.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Business
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite also provides up to at $100 credit for the Nexus application fee for 48 months. It also has a first year free application for the credit card, after that it is $150 a year or so. Here is my TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card review.
Often TD also has a first year free promotion going on for this business credit card as well.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
This card’s annual fee is more expensive clocking in at $599 annually and there isn’t a first year free option for this card. You also have to have a high personal income, over $150,000 annually. For this card, there is a cap of four NEXUS statement credits available in a 48 month period, and the number of Nexus reimbursements is equal to the number of cardholders of this credit card.
American Express Gold Card
The American Express Gold card now comes in rose gold (how tempting) and has an annual fee of $250. In recent years (as of 2021), they included a Nexus statement credit as a benefit. However, the Nexus statement credit is limited to $50 CAD rather than $50 USD as well.
Unlike the TD Aeroplan cards, American Express indicates that it will take 8 weeks for the statement credit to be posted on your account.
Here is my American Express Gold card review.
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
The American Express Aeroplan Reserve card also has an annual fee of $599, and it also includes a Nexus statement credit of up to $100 CAD every four years. It will also take 6-8 weeks for the statement credit to be posted on your account.
Getting A Nexus Pass for Free Recap
In summary, the Nexus card is a game changer for travel and I highly recommend getting this pass. It’s worth every penny at $50 USD and worth it even more if you can get it for free.
Of course, it’s not worth it for you if you don’t travel at all or if you don’t cross the border to Canada or to the United States via a land border crossing! So save your $50! But for me, this has been a great ‘investment’ and has given me a great return on investment via time saved, happiness factor, and satisfaction.
Do you have the Nexus card?
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GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.