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The Globe and Mail

Nexus card users now eligible for faster screening when flying to U.S.

A passenger reads a carry on restriction sign in the departures area of Pearson Airport in Toronto, Jan. 7, 2010.

J.P. MOCZULSKI For The Globe and Mail/j.p. moczulski The Globe and Mail

Travellers under Canada's Nexus program will be able to use their cards in new, faster security lines when flying to the United States.

Transport Minister Denis Lebel announced Tuesday that starting Wednesday, Nexus members can use their cards for faster screening at airports in eight Canadian cities.

Those airports are in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

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The minister says this will cut waiting times.

"We had these lines, but not for USA," Mr. Lebel told reporters at the Ottawa airport.

"We had these lines for domestic and international flights. We didn't have them for USA before."

The Nexus program previously allowed Canadian residents to pass through special lines when travelling by road to the United States, or by air to some countries outside the U.S.

It's designed to make border security more efficient by allowing guards to move those who aren't considered a danger through customs more quickly and focus on travellers who have the potential to be high risk.

Applicants seeking to qualify for the Nexus program must show they have no criminal record or any violations of customs or immigration laws.

They are required to submit to an interview with a United States Customs and Border Protection officer and have the irises in their eyes scanned.

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The card costs $50.

The Nexus program began as a joint venture of the Canada and U.S. governments in 2000.

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