NEXUScrossing rules eased up

Published on Thu, Oct 7, 2004 by eg Olson

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NEXUS crossing rules eased up

By Meg Olson

The Department of Homeland Security is loosening rules for the NEXUS lanes to allow commuters to shop on their way home.
“We’re doing it for consistency and uniformity from lane to lane and from location to location,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection public information officer Mike Milne.

As of September 9, Milne said, the NEXUS “lunch rule,” which only allowed commuters a personal meal if they wanted to use the preclearance lanes, was no longer in effect. “You can bring in the same food through NEXUS as the regular lanes,” Milne said. “As long as you declare it.” That includes agricultural products and dutiable goods, Milne confirmed, but not prohibited goods or commercial goods. The new rules mimic Canadian NEXUS rules, where if it’s allowed in the regular lanes it can go through a NEXUS lane.

The onus is on the traveler to know what’s allowed and what isn’t, Milne said. “If you aren’t sure use the regular lanes or call ahead,” he said, as violation of rules can result in loss of NEXUS privileges.

The rule of thumb is that, with exceptions, if an agricultural product is clearly labeled of U.S. or Canadian origin it’s allowed. The hitch is that the exceptions are legion, and they keep changing. The ban on all ruminant meat and any product that may contain it is in place until further notice, but pork and poultry are allowed in quantities under 50 pounds. All tropical fruit is prohibited, unless it’s clearly labeled as grown in the U.S., and stickers on an orange don’t necessarily count, though a sealed bag would, Milne said. Vegetables grown in the U.S. and Canada are allowed, except for potatoes from Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and parts of B.C., and the only corn on the cob allowed is B.C. corn. Nuts and seeds are allowed if they have been ground, shelled or roasted, but raw ones are only allowed if they are clearly of U.S. or Canadian origin. The only groceries that are allowed across the board are Canadian cheese and milk products.

While dogs and cats with vaccination certificates are allowed in the NEXUS lanes, other pets require inspection, and birds require special permits.

A list of agricultural rules is available at ports of entry and agricultural questions can be directed to 360/332-1831. Call 360/332-2380 for other NEXUS related questions.

Please click here for a list of the new rules.