photo courtesy Calgary Sun
About a month after I submitted my application, I received conditional approval for Nexus and Global Entry, pending my interview. I made an appointment at the Nexus center in Detroit since I had a trip there already. The final part of the application process that I couldn’t do there was to get the iris scan. This is required for entry into Canada via air (and into the US at pre-clearance airports in Canada) to use the kiosks at airports. There are also Global Entry kiosks in the pre-clearance areas at Vancouver and Ottawa airports, and this is supposed to expand to Montreal and Toronto by September according to this link. They were nowhere to be found when I passed through Montreal in mid-September.
In order to get my iris scan, I contacted the Nexus office at Montreal since I would be there for work. Whether or not an appointment is required for only the iris scan seems to depend on the policies of the particular office. I just contacted the Montreal office via email to set a time for my iris scan. It took maybe 5 minutes. I met with an agent, she explained the process, and then I had my irises scanned. I then did a test scan to make sure it was working properly, and it was. That’s all it took to get into the system.
Upon my departing flight from YUL a few days later, I used the NEXUS lane, and the kiosk to pass through the US pre-clearance area. I cleared faster than those without NEXUS, but the lines were short when I was going through, so I saved only maybe 5 minutes. On past trips in Toronto and Calgary in particular, I’ve had long waits to get to the customs, particularly on returning to the US. Best of all, this allowed me more time in the excellent Maple Leaf Lounge in the transborder gates at YUL. I didn’t get any photos, but Nick’s review of the lounge in Vancouver covers it well, as the food and drink offerings seem to be the same.
I spent $50 for both NEXUS and Global Entry, both of which will quickly pay for the investment just in time saved during border crossing.