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Measures announced to address backlog of Nexus applications

The Canadian and U.S. governments have announced a set of measures to address the backlog of NEXUS applications.

However, it means that people wishing to enter the "trusted traveler program" will have to participate in a pair of interviews, one in Canada and the other in the US.

Canada's Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says the package will "improve NEXUS application processing by 50% over pre-COVID capacity."

Let's listen to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino make the announcement:

Canada and the United States have agreed to significantly increase the processing of Nexus applications to 50%. This is very good news coming out of the pandemic in order to speed up travel between the two countries. We will put in place a number of measures that will enable us to meet that goal. Those measures include expediting the renewal processes for applicants who have already applied and deposited their documents and gone through interviews in the past. Second, on the U.S. side we will be extending the hours at the enrollment centers in 12 locations. And third, finally what we are doing is we are putting in place a simplified two-step process that will allow Canadian travelers to apply for an interview on the Canadian side and for those who are traveling to the United States to complete that process at the pre-authorized locations. So we will be implementing this simplified process at airports where it had already been authorized by this spring, so it will be up and running very soon.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a joint statement that interviews with U.S. border agents will soon begin to be conducted at Canadian airport facilities that already provide pre-clearance services for travelers heading to the United States.

International airports in Canada that offer pre-clearance services include those in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa and Winnipeg, as well as Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

The announcement marks the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic that U.S. interviews will be allowed on Canadian soil. But it is still a far cry from how Nexus interviews have traditionally been conducted in both countries, with applicants seated for an in-person interview conducted jointly by officials from the two agencies in the same room.

The delay in reopening Nexus offices in Canada resulted in a backlog of about 300,000 applications.

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