The NEXUS program continues to evolve, from the current iris scan to using facial recognition technology. NEXUS kiosks were last updated 6 or so years ago, and now more changes are coming soon. I haven’t flown through Canada as much recently as in past years, but I still get great value out of my NEXUS membership. For half of the price of Global Entry ($50), NEXUS members get full Global Entry benefits, TSA PreCheck and expedited entry into Canada.
NEXUS kiosks are used for members upon arrival into Canadian airports. Historically, identity was verified by way of iris recognition technology. This is fast and easy, at least in my experience. Now CBSA has announced that new NEXUS kiosks will be installed that use facial recognition technology. They claim this will make the process even faster.
NEXUS moves to facial recognition
I received a letter announcing these changes:
Dear NEXUS Member,
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is pleased to inform you that it will be modernizing the way NEXUS members are processed at Canadian airports. The existing NEXUS kiosks that use iris recognition technology will be replaced with new, modernized NEXUS kiosks that use facial verification technology. Vancouver International Airport will be the first to launch this new process in fall 2019, with other Canadian airports following in the ensuing months. These airports are:
Halifax Stanfield International Airport
Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport
Calgary International Airport
Edmonton International Airport
Toronto Pearson International Airport
Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
To facilitate the transition to facial biometrics, your cooperation is required. You will need your passport the first time you use a new kiosk. You will be prompted to upload your passport photograph during your first passage for storage and identity verification purposes. Members who do not have a passport will be referred to an officer for identity verification.
This modernization is intended to better serve NEXUS members travelling by air as facial biometric verification provides travellers with a simplified method of being identified. This initiative aligns the NEXUS program with international trends on traveller processing, and supports the CBSA’s goal to increase efficiencies without compromising security.
It is also important to note that declarations will not be completed at the new kiosks. If you have something to declare you must do so verbally, to an officer, at a clearly marked area in the customs hall after using the kiosk. For more information on a traveller’s duty to declare, please visit the CBSA I Declare webpage.
This new process is expected to further expedite NEXUS air processing and enhance the travel experience through the customs hall.
The collection, use and sharing of information is protected by the privacy legislation of Canada and the U.S. For example, the CBSA protects personal information in accordance with Canada’s Privacy Act. The security and privacy of personal information has been factored into all elements of kiosk design and system architecture. While the new kiosks are provided by airport authorities, they are built to CBSA standards and must be certified before they can be activated. No personal information is stored on the kiosk. The only information retained is saved securely on CBSA systems, in accordance with government information, privacy and security policies.
For more information on this initiative, including instructions on how to use the new NEXUS facial verification kiosks, please visit the NEXUS Air webpage.
We thank you for your patience and cooperation.
Traveller Programs Directorate
Canada Border Services Agency
How will the process differ using these new kiosks?
A completely new kiosk will be used, and travelers must scan their passport to store the passport photograph. Here are instructions on using these new machines.
I’ve boarded a plane using facial recognition instead of showing my passport at least once. I believe this is at gate 41 at LAX, and I’ve seen similar systems in other airports as well. I’ve also heard reports of Global Entry using some sort of facial recognition for identity verification in certain airports. From what I can tell, this is currently a trial of this ongoing, but I haven’t experienced it personally yet. I’m interested to see how well this works, NEXUS has almost always been fast and easy in my experience, so hopefully it is even easier using the new technology.