Nexus is a trusted traveler program
operated jointly by the United States and Canada,
and in casual conversation, the word Nexus is often
used to refer to the Nexus card itself.
One of my college classmates
visited relatives who lived in a state along the Canada/US border,
and they made a road trip to Canada.
Everybody in the car was a member of the Nexus program
except for my classmate.
During the conversation, he had need to pluralize
the term Nexus,
which raised the question:
What is the plural of Nexus?
Is it second declension: Nexī?
Or third declension: Nexera?
Note that this is a question that is raised
only by Latin and grammar nerds.
Let’s hear it for the Latin and grammar nerds!
Unlike many Latin-sounding brand names,
is an actual Latin word,
meaning “binding together”.
And it is fourth declension:
The plural is
pronounced as “nexoos”.
(At least, that’s what I gathered from the Latin nerds.)
The Nexus program is an outlier in the cost/benefit graph
United States Trusted Traveler programs.
| Faster land entry|
| Faster land entry|
|Faster air entry||• Global Entry|
| Faster airport|
|• TSA Pre✓|
|Cost (USD) for five years|
(as of 2018)
The listed benefits are cumulative as you go up the y-axis,
and the prices along the x-axis increase as the benefits increase,
except for Nexus, which grants more benefits than
Global Entry despite costing less than even TSA Pre✓.
Furthermore, Nexus has no application fee for those under age 18.
Nexus is clearly the sweet spot in the graph.
I’m not sure,
but I’m not complaining.
The complications for Nexus are that the approval process takes
longer, since you need to pass background checks by both
United States and Canadian authorities,
and interview locations are available only near the Canada/US border.
But if you are okay with those constraints,
the choice is pretty clear.
When my family travels across the Canada/US border in the Nexus
lane, we play a game:
As we approach the border, we pick a vehicle in the
and we see if our car can clear the border
before the other vehicle does.
We have yet to lose.
Even if we pick a car that is only a few lengths from the border
as we approach, we still end up winning.
In one of the early instances of this game,
after the border officer cleared us to enter,
my young daughter exclaimed, “We did it!”
That strikes me as a rather suspicious thing to say
immediately after a border officer lets you across.
I had to caution my kids not to get too excited about
winning the game.
The total benefits are not strictly cumulative, however.
Most of the Trusted Traveler programs are operated solely
by the United States, but
Nexus is jointly operated with Canada,
which means that you get
Canadian benefits, too:
faster land, sea, and air entry into Canada.
But that just makes the sweet spot even sweeter,
especially if you take advantage of
school calendar misalignment
and fly in and out of Canada for vacation.