jump to navigation

NEXUS and Dual Citizenship March 8, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Citizenship, NEXUS Card.
Tags: , , ,

NEXUS has allowances in the application process to show that you are a national of more than one country. Having a passport from both the US and Canada speeds things up.

Here is my recollection of the events on the day I got my NEXUS card:

After being pre-cleared for my NEXUS card, I scheduled an interview, and went to the local NEXUS office to finish my application. The two men manning the office: one CBSA (Canada) and one CBP (US). They were both great guys, and I can say that the experience was almost enjoyable.

As I went in, the CBP agent dealt with me first; he asked me for my passport. In a moment of sheer brilliance, I replied, “Which one?” Biting my tongue after realizing what I’d said, he just chuckled and asked, “Why, how many do you have?” Juding from his positive response to my first witty remark, and tempting fate, I responded with, “How many do you NEED?” After a laugh from both of the officers, I admitted I was joking. Just in case it wasn’t clear.

I handed over my US and Canadian passports. He looked at them both, handed the Canadian passport to the CBSA officer, and said ‘I don’t deal with THESE funny things. You have it.’ They both entered my information into their respective computers, and then I was asked which country I would like to issue the card.

Alarm bells ringing in my head, I asked him what the repercussions of having Canadian vs American on my card were. He told me that the only real difference was that the expiry date of your NEXUS card is related to the expiry date of your passport. (US passports expire in 10 years, and Canadian passports in 5.)

They asked me some questions, took my fingerprints on a scanner, and took pictures of my eyeballs. I would like to look up under the Privacy Act where in Canada those iris scans are stored.

They issued me my blue and red NEXUS card, hot off the card printer, and showed me how to use the self-serve customs kiosk.

I’ve used my NEXUS card a few times since then, and it’s been a blessing to be able to skip the giant line-ups during airport “rush hour”. I had always wondered whether or not I should shield the thing… (See my next post about the new NEXUS cards)



1. Dave - July 22, 2010


I am also the holder of both passports, I reside in Canada, where do you live? I was told that since i reside in Canada that I needed to get the Canadian version, which i’m guessing that is what you got white and red? Which office did you visit for your interview?

Matthew - July 22, 2010

I got the white and red because that is how they came at the time. Afterwards, they came out with the blue version with more security features.

They asked me whether I wanted a US one or a Canadian one. I was undecided, so they suggested I get it as a US one, since the NEXUS card supposedly matched the length of the passport (10 years for US). However, I seem to have ended up with a Canadian one anyways (5 year expiry).. “Citizen: CAN, Issuing Country: USA”

I expect this is likely how it’s done, and maybe it got corrected by head office? Or maybe I asked them to use the Canadian one, I honestly can’t recall.

2. Mia - September 11, 2010


I also hold both a Canadian and U.S passport- Ijust received my nexus card and had a question for you. On the card, it says that I am a citizen of Canada and the issuing country is the U.S. I assume when I enter the states I should enter with my U.S passport, but would they not look at my card and question why it states I’m a canadian citizen? I’m a newbie so forgive the silly question.

Thanks in advance, M

Matthew - September 11, 2010

Hi Mia!

Regarding your NEXUS card, that’s normal to have differing Canadian/US notation on it like that; either way, both your passports should be on file with your NEXUS card application, so they would be able to see both regardless, I’d imagine. (Back when you signed up, there was a spot for citizenship, and proof of citizenship. If you only put in one citizenship on the application, I’d call or visit your local NEXUS center to make sure they know about both).

As far as border crossing, I believe you should still always enter the US identifying as an American citizen when asked, and Canada as Canadian. If they look at your NEXUS card funny, and ask you what’s up, just show them your US passport as well (or at least offer it).

/I’m not an expert, just citing from my experience

3. John Schatz - February 18, 2011

I’m dual national also, Canadian/ British and I will be using my nexus card for the first time as I will be travelling by greyhound bus to Los Angeles, Ca from Calgary, AB Canada. Can someone please tell how they process you at a land border crossing when you produce your nexus Card?

Matthew - February 18, 2011

I’m not sure, as I haven’t traveled by Greyhound cross-border before. Just bring your passport(s) and NEXUS card.

I would imagine they would make you disembark and walk through the border crossing.

The border agent should be okay with just your NEXUS card; if not, offer your US passport to American border officials, and British passport to Canadian officials.

You could always call your local NEXUS office and see what their thoughts are on the situation.

I’d love to hear back about how it went, and what happened!

4. CANUSA - February 13, 2013

I’m a dual US/Canada citizen and live in Canada. Re-entering Canada at the Rainbow Bridge there is no longer NEXUS. I presented my NEXUS card to the officer and she asked my citizenship and I stated Canada. She asked for proof and I said the NEXUS card as both passports have been in there for years. She claimed I am designated a US citizen. She or the system obviously had a problem. Luckily I had my passport with me. Don’t depend on NEXUS alone.

5. Bridget - March 14, 2013

I am a dual US/Canada citizen as well, but I obtained both citizenship through neutralization. Would that make a difference when it comes to the Nexus application? I was always told to not let the US immigration find out I am a dual citizen

Matthew - March 14, 2013

As far as I recall, the US used to be very strict about that, so that advice would have been prudent.

Nowadays, “Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, states that U.S. citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship.” [Travel.State.Gov: Advice about Possible Loss of U.S. Citizenship and Dual Nationality]

I take that (as an average Joe) to mean that unless you intend to give up your US citizenship by applying for, or obtaining, Canadian citizenship, then you will keep it. There may be some scrutiny, of course, but I would imagine it would be hard for them to prove that you intended to relinquish your US citizenship.

Another quote from [Travel.State.Gov: Advice about Possible Loss of U.S. Citizenship and Dual Nationality]:

“Dual nationality can also occur when a person is naturalized in a foreign state without intending to relinquish U.S. nationality and is thereafter found not to have lost U.S. citizenship: the individual consequently may possess dual nationality. The U.S. Government does not encourage dual nationality. While recognizing the existence of dual nationality and permitting Americans to have other nationalities, the U.S. Government also recognizes the problems which it may cause. Claims of other countries upon dual-national U.S. citizens often place them in situations where their obligations to one country are in conflict with the laws of the other. In addition, their dual nationality may hamper efforts to provide U.S. diplomatic and consular protection to them when they are abroad, especially when they are in the country of their second nationality. “

Again, I’m no expert; if I were you, I would speak with a lawyer specializing in immigration/international/US law if you have any doubts or further concerns.

Good luck in your endeavours 🙂

6. Ashley - April 16, 2013

I just applied for Nexus as a Dual citizen and want my boyfriend to apply as well.. but he is a multi-citizen (US, Canada, Sweden) and is worried that if the US finds out he has three passports that they will force him to relinquish one of his citizenships. However, he has had all three of them since birth. His mother is Swedish and his father is American/Canadian.

Do you think that will cause an issue with Nexus? There is no point for me to get Nexus if he can’t get it because he is my most frequent travel companion.


Matthew - April 16, 2013

Hi Ashley!

If he is concerned, I would contact a lawyer specializing in international or immigration law to confirm.

Multi-citizenship is out of my realm of knowledge, however I would think it would apply just the same to the information found in Advice about Possible Loss of U.S. Citizenship and Dual Nationality in that as long as he didn’t “[obtain] naturalization in a foreign state upon one’s own application after the age of 18 (Sec. 349 (a) (1) INA) [with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship]”, [cite], he should be okay, since you’re not 18 at birth 😉

Disclaimer: Again, give your local lawyer a call if you have any questions, as I’m just a random guy and not a lawyer, nor do I work for any of these departments or governmental bodies, nor am I pretending to be one 🙂

7. Ki - January 9, 2014

Hi Matthew,
Just happened upon your post regarding Nexus. I received my Nexus card a few years ago when I was a Canadian permanent resident (in addition to being a US citizen). Since then, I became a Canadian citizen. So I went to a NEXUS office and had them update my file to replace my Canadian PR card with my Canadian passport. So now I have both US and Canadian passports on file. However, when I checked online via GOES, it only lists me as having one citizenship (US) – though it does correctly show both US and Canadian passports under my travel documents. I’m curious if you have both US and Canadian entries showing for you under Citizenship. If you do, I may need to visit a NEXUS office again


Matthew - January 9, 2014

Hi Ki,

In my NEXUS overview, I have a US and Canada section under Citizenship information, with each document under it, and each document again under admissibility documents. This has all been in there since I first applied, so it may be different for you: It may be that they only have a limited ability to change your information without re-applying for membership. You’d have to ask, though I can’t imagine there will be any issues. Just carry your NEXUS card along with your passports to back it up with until you know how it works.

Ki - January 10, 2014

Thanks for the reply! Probably the person who added my new passport information forgot to also add to the section that lists my Citizenship(s). I’ll give them a call to confirm. Thanks!

Sam - July 23, 2016

Hi Ki, did you declare both your permanent resident card and US citizenship in the application? Or just the citizenship details for US. I’m in the same-ish boat, US green card and Canadian citizency but can’t get a straight answer on what to declare. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks

Ki - July 24, 2016

Yes. In my original application I disclosed that I was both a Canadian PR (at the time) and also a US citizen. Anyway, there would be no way I could not disclose both since my home address was in Canada and I declared my citizenship as US

8. Mido - November 17, 2015

Hello Matthew,

Thanks for the valubale information. I applied for NEXUS and I got conditionally approved to schedule an interview. I have dual citizenship (Canada/Egypt), but i only entered the Canadian Passport information on Nexus application as they were only asking for CAN or US citizenship as a requirment for NEXUS card. Should i take the other Egyptian passport with me to the interview. Are they going to ask why i didn’t put the other passport information on the application?

thanks you.

Matthew - November 17, 2015

Hmm. I’m not sure. There’s a toll free number for the NEXUS program on their website somewhere, I believe. You could always try giving them a call.

9. Sam - July 23, 2016

Great site. I am applying for the Nexus as a Canadian citizen and US green card holder. The application states you either declare your Canadian passport or US green card, which was me a little worried about getting into trouble at the processing or interview stage. Can’t seem to get a straight answer on what I should do. Wonder if the background checks are only criminal checks or if it’s more.

Matthew - July 24, 2016


As far as I know, the background checks are criminal, with fingerprints being run through both Canada and the US databases.

As for the green card, I have no experience, but whenever possible, I’d suggest being as open and honest as the form allows. If nothing else, you could call up the NEXUS national hotline and ask them how to proceed.


10. Chris - August 23, 2016

I like to go into Canada with my Canadian Passport and into the US with my American Passport. Would a Nexus card make me claim only one citizenship? Since Canada always is trying to make me import my car lol.

Matthew - August 23, 2016

You can put both in your application, but as a travel document, the NEXUS card itself only displays one citizenship; it is almost like a US passport card, having the long string of scannable text on the back, etc.

I usually fly through, driving you may have to just declare both, or present the card with the passport for the citizenship you don’t have listed on the card if you’re entering that country. I’d definitely be open to someone who has automobile experience with NEXUS to explain in a bit further detail. Canada/US crossing doesn’t require you to register your vehicle’s VIN number with them; US/Mexico crossing does, and requires an in-person inspection.

Matthew - August 23, 2016

As for importing your car, it’s hard to say; supposedly you should import it if you’re keeping it in the country over 30 days, but I haven’t done much research into the topic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: