Effective April 30, 2007 Nexus border pre-clearance can be used in place of Canpass for telephone check-in into Canada. After phone-in, Nexus card holders still must land at a designated landing site at an agreed-upon time, although as with Canpass they may depart without penalty if a Canada Customs officer does not show up to inspect the vessel. Call 1-866-996-3987 (1-866-99-Nexus) for clearance.

Canpass pre-clearance card holders may continue to use their Canpass program as before. Call 1-888-226-7277 (1-888-Canpass) for clearance.

For boats entering the U.S., telephone clearance using Nexus or the annual I-68 telephone pre-clearance will work as described in the 2007 Waggoner.

Nexus application information: The Nexus application form has been updated, and older forms should not be used. Get Form BSF658E from Canada or U.S. Customs offices. The Nexus process consists of three elements: (1) the application; (2) the review; (3) the interview. The review time has been shortened, but for Seattle-area applicants the wait-time is as long as 3 months now. For telephone clearance into the U.S., boats planning to go north for the 2007 summer season should get I-68s this year and join the line for Nexus next year. Seattle interviews are held only two days each week, so for a shorter wait-time try Blaine, which holds interviews six days a week.

Remember that all persons on board will need Nexus or Canpass for telephone entry into Canada, or Nexus and I-68 for telephone entry into the U.S. If only one person on board lacks pre-clearance, the boat must touch at a designated Customs port of entry to clear.

Nexus cards are good for five years, which will create a new problem beginning in 2008. The first batch (2002) will expire before the 2008 boating season, and will be up for re-application, review and interview. This will add a number of renewals to the growing body of new applicants, straining a system that already must wait months for an interview appointment. What a fun time to be a Customs administrator.

Caution: If you have a felony conviction, no matter how long ago and how young you were, Canada won’t let you in if they know about it. The Nexus application is how they will find out. Note that DUI or DWI convictions are felonies in Canada. If you have a felony conviction, including DUI or DWI, I-68, which doesn’t check for felonies, is the way to go. The same is true of fines for border infractions, such as failure to declare something that should be declared. In any of these situations, don’t apply for Nexus; get an annual I-68.

Last, GET YOUR PASSPORT. A passport is not required to enter or re-enter the U.S. by private boat in 2007, but in all likelihood it’ll be needed in 2008. Thank you, Osama Bin Laden.

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