The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are relocating their NEXUS enrollment center to Birch Bay Square.
The facility will allow commuters to sign up for the NEXUS trusted traveler program, a joint U.S. and Canada program, to expedite trips across the border. The pass also provides benefits at airports and ferry terminals.
The new location offers more convenient parking and a larger staff than the current facility at the Pacific Highway border crossing, which should help cut down on wait times to receive a NEXUS pass, said CBP chief Tom Schreiber.
“The current office is woefully inefficient for its footprint,” Schreiber said. “The program has been hugely successful, and that’s what’s driving the need for a new location.”
Schreiber said the CBP will be allocating more staff to the new NEXUS enrollment center, more than doubling the current staff, which Schreiber is confident will reduce wait times for the pass.
NEXUS pass applicants can file their initial applications online, but must go to enrollment centers to conduct final interviews in person and determine their eligibility for the pass. High demand for the program means the application process can take months to go through.
“Our facility here has just been overwhelmed with applicants,” Schreiber said. “That’s the benefit of moving to a professional, commercial facility along the I-5 corridor. It’s located between two major metropolitan areas, and should draw more interest in the program.”
The NEXUS program has gained over one million users since the program was first instituted in 2002. The CBP designed it to alleviate traffic at the border and help focus on greater threats. In 2012, the Transportation Security Administration began accepting NEXUS passes as part of their pre-check program to allow faster security processing at airports receiving international flights.
Schreiber estimates the construction will be completed in early September or late August of this year.