CUSTER - Joining the NEXUS traveler program could become quicker and more convenient when a new facility opens later this summer at Birch Bay Square.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency are relocating a trusted traveler enrollment center into a 7,400-square-foot space at the retail center. It is currently at the Pacific Highway border crossing.
The enrollment center is where applicants of trusted traveler cards, such as NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST, are interviewed for final approval, said Mike Milne, spokesman for CBP.
NEXUS, commonly used in this area, provides special privileges at airports, ferries and border crossings. That privilege includes a separate border lane for NEXUS users, which means less time stuck in line.
The new space is bigger and the staffing will more than double to around 20, which should cut down on the backlog of applicants, Milne said. Currently it can take a few months to be approved for NEXUS.
While a little farther from the border, the new space is more convenient to get to and park. During the initial online process, applicants can select which enrollment center to go to for the final interview with U.S. and Canadian officials.
More than a million people have signed up for the NEXUS program, with 80 percent of them Canadian, Milne said.
The NEXUS program was established in 2002 as a partnership between the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/nexus.