Global Entry, NEXUS and the effect of renouncing US citizenship

This is another post in what is becoming a series about “travel documents” for U.S. and Canadian citizens and permanent residents. To travel the world you need to be able to get easy access to and from different countries. “Travel documents” are required. Travel documents include (but are not limited to): passports, permanent resident cards, Global Entry cards and NEXUS cards. Different rules may apply in different contexts (are you traveling by air, land or sea)? My previous posts about “travel documents” have been:

Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada

Travel Documents: Canadian citizens need either a U.S. or Canadian passport to enter Canada by air (or by land)

Why would someone renounce their “permanent resident of Canada” status?

Law permanent residents of the United States AKA “Green Card” holders

What’s a #GreenCard anyway? It’s NOT what you don’t know. It’s what you know that isn’t true!

Although a “reentry permit” can provide evidence of intention to reside permanently in the USA, it does ask about tax returns!
This post focuses on the NEXUS program (in the context of the U.S “Global Entry Program”).

I encourage you to visit the U.S. Government “Global Entry” page. You will be amazed at how broad these programs actually are.

A common question (I have been asked this many times) for Canadians renouncing U.S. citizenship:

How will my renunciation affect my NEXUS card?

I provided the following “Readers Digest” answer on Quora. But I thought I would provide a broader answer in this post.

Read John Richardson's answer to Can you still qualify for a Nexus card if you renounce your US citizenship after becoming a naturalized Canadian citizen? on Quora

Part 1 – The U.S. System of “Global Entry”

The NEXUS program is really a “sub part” of the broader U.S. system of “Global Entry“. The purpose of Global Entry is to facilitate easy entry into the United States for “trusted travelers”. “Global Entry” is governed by specific U.S. regulations which are found here. Specifically the regulations include:

§ 235.12 Global Entry program.

(a)Program description. The Global Entry program is a voluntary international trusted traveler program consisting of an integrated passenger processing system that expedites the movement of low-risk air travelers into the United States by providing an alternate inspection process for pre-approved, pre-screened travelers. In order to participate, a person must meet the eligibility requirements specified in this section, apply in advance, undergo pre-screening by CBP, and be accepted into the program. The Global Entry program allows participants expedited entry into the United States at selected airports identified by CBP at Participants will be processed through the use of CBP-approved technology that will include the use of biometrics to validate identity and to perform enforcement queries.

(b)Program eligibility criteria – (1) Eligible individuals. The following individuals, who hold a valid, machine-readable passport, a valid, machine-readable U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), or other appropriate travel document as determined by CBP, may apply to participate in Global Entry:
(i) U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. lawful permanent residents absent any of the disqualifying factors described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(ii) Certain nonimmigrant aliens from countries that have entered into arrangements with CBP concerning international trusted traveler programs absent any of the disqualifying factors described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, and subject to the conditions set forth in the particular arrangement. Individuals from a country that has entered into such an arrangement with CBP may be eligible to apply for participation in Global Entry only after CBP announces the arrangement by publication of a notice in the Federal Register. The notice will include the country, the scope of eligibility of nonimmigrant aliens from that country (e.g., whether only citizens of the foreign country or citizens and non-citizens are eligible) and other conditions that may apply based on the terms of the arrangement. CBP may change or terminate these arrangements without prior notice to the public, but will announce such actions as soon as practicable on and by publication of a notice in the Federal Register.

(iii) Persons under the age of 18 who meet the eligibility criteria of paragraph (b)(1)(i) or (ii) of this section must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian to participate in Global Entry and provide proof of such consent in accordance with CBP instructions.
(2)Disqualifying factors. An individual is ineligible to participate in Global Entry if CBP, at its sole discretion, determines that the individual presents a potential risk for terrorism, criminality (such as smuggling), or is otherwise not a low-risk traveler. This risk determination will be based in part upon an applicant’s ability to demonstrate past compliance with laws, regulations, and policies. Reasons why an applicant may not qualify for participation include:

(i) The applicant provides false or incomplete information on the application;

(ii) The applicant has been arrested for, or convicted of, any criminal offense or has pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants in any country;

(iii) The applicant has been found in violation of any customs, immigration, or agriculture regulations, procedures, or laws in any country;

(iv) The applicant is the subject of an investigation by any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency in any country;

(v) The applicant is inadmissible to the United States under applicable immigration laws or has, at any time, been granted a waiver of inadmissibility or parole;

(vi) The applicant is known or suspected of being or having been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism; or

(vii) The applicant cannot satisfy CBP of his or her low-risk status or meet other program requirements.

(c)Participating airports. The Global Entry program allows participants expedited entry into the United States at the locations identified at Expansions of the Global Entry program to new airports will be announced by publication in the Federal Register and at

Part 2 – The applicant must be admissible under “applicable immigration” laws – Note Immigration and Nationality Act – S. 1182

Immigration and Nationality Act Sec. 1182 is the section describing “inadmissible aliens”. The section includes:

Inadmissible alien

(C) Misrepresentation
(i) In general
Any alien who, by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seeks to procure (or has sought to procure or has procured) a visa, other documentation, or admission into the United States or other benefit provided under this chapter is inadmissible.
(ii) Falsely claiming citizenship
(I) In general
Any alien who falsely represents, or has falsely represented, himself or herself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under this chapter (including section 1324a of this title) or any other Federal or State law is inadmissible.
(II) Exception
In the case of an alien making a representation described in subclause (I), if each natural parent of the alien (or, in the case of an adopted alien, each adoptive parent of the alien) is or was a citizen (whether by birth or naturalization), the alien permanently resided in the United States prior to attaining the age of 16, and the alien reasonably believed at the time of making such representation that he or she was a citizen, the alien shall not be considered to be inadmissible under any provision of this subsection …

In other words, one is an “inadmissible alien” if one falsely claims to be a citizen of the United States.

Part 3 – The NEXUS program as part of “Global Entry”

The NEXUS program is a program entered into between Canada and the United States. The purpose is to facilitate easy travel between the two countries. (Trust me, it is an incredible time saver!) It is important to view eligibility for the NEXUS program from the perspective of both Canada and the United States (you must be approved by both countries).
Note that participation in the NEXUS program is generally available to: Citizens of Canada and/or the United States, permanent residents of Canada or the United States and certain Mexican nationals. The idea is to facilitate easy “border crossing” between Canada and the United States. Although the general U.S. “Global Entry Program” is to facilitate easy entry into the United States, the NEXUS program facilitates easy entry into both Canada and the United States.

Finally and most importantly: A NEXUS card is a “travel document”. It is to facilitate “easy entry” to Canada and the United States. It’s use may depend on whether you are traveling by land, air or sea. It does NOT in general mean that one is not required to have a passport.

Significantly the information includes:

I am a NEXUS member and a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. (Green Card holder). Do I need an eTA to fly to Canada?

Yes. You need an eTA to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport.

Be prepared: Apply for an eTA before you book your flight to Canada. Most applicants get approved within minutes. However, some applications can take several days to process so don’t wait until the last minute. Get help if you have questions before, during or after you apply.

You do not need an eTA when you enter Canada by land or sea. Always carry your valid Green Card to show your status as a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

Significantly the information includes:

Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), the NEXUS card has been approved as an alternative to the passport for air travel into the United States for U.S. and Canadian citizens. However, if you are traveling without a passport we advise that you contact the airline first. You will also not be able to use the Global Entry kiosk upon entering the U.S.

Part 4 – Canada U.S. “dual citizens” and the NEXUS card

The NEXUS card is generally available to citizens of either or both the United States and Canada. When a dual citizen applies for a NEXUS card he/she would identify as a citizen of both Canada and the United States. Of particular note for people renouncing U.S. citizenship: when applying for the NEXUS card as a “dual citizen” you are representing that you are a U.S. citizen.

Part 5 – I was a dual citizen when I applied for the NEXUS card. I have now renounced U.S. citizenship. What does this mean for my NEXUS card?

To use a NEXUS card that represents that you are a U.S. citizen after having renounced U.S. citizenship means that you are attempting to enter the United States on a “travel document” that states your a U.S. citizen. This means that you are in violation of S. 1182 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (see above). (Note that same principle would apply to using a U.S. passport after having relinquished U.S. citizenship.)
Significantly the instructions for renunciation of U.S. citizenship require that you bring your NEXUS card to the interview (if you have one).
Bottom line: The NEXUS card that was issued to you on the basis of your dual Canada U.S. citizenship should NOT be used after renunciation. Technically, the attempted use of the NEXUS card after having renounced U.S. citizenship could make you ineligible for another one. You should simply reapply for a new NEXUS card that represents that you are a Canadian citizen only!

Part 6 – But, remember that the issuance of a NEXUS card by either Canada or the United States is purely discretionary!

Nobody has a “right” to a NEXUS card!

Here are some interesting “odds and ends” that I came across as I was writing this post:

Isn’t life in the modern world interesting? It’s really a “full employment program” for accountants and lawyers (isn’t it).

John Richardson Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

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