||12-27-12 03:26 PM
If you cross the border regularly for non-commercial purposes, it makes a lot of sense to get a Nexus card (you can apply online at the GOES web site). I cross quite often by car on Hwy 99/Interstate 5 near Vancouver. On busy weekends, without the Nexus card, you are stuck in a 2-hour lineup to get into the US. With the Nexus card, you get to use a special lane and it takes from a few seconds to maybe 20 minutes at really busy times (like Saturday mornings) to get across to the US. You can even get an iris scan at the airport and use the Nexus card to bump you past airport passenger lineups. But don't tell anybody; things are slowing down in the Nexus lineups because too many people are getting these cards. I'm not sure why I'm telling you this. It costs US$50 for five years, which I figure is worth it to skip just one 2-hour border lineup!
So if you're on a bike, I usually either ride into the Nexus lane if it's empty, or I just bypass the car lineup and get checked with the peds, at least at the West Coast crossings.
I have gone across at Rainbow (Niagara Falls) and Peace (Buffalo). At Rainbow, you just ride across the bridge on the roadway and take the Nexus booth that the cars take. It's usually devoid of cars, so no waits. At Peace, you take the sidewalk over the bridge (it can get windy), and then you end up at this blockhouse where you have to get past the typical US border guards, who tend to be real bullies. Just focus on being friendly, and letting them know that they're way smarter than you are, and you'll usually be just fine.
BTW, if you're a Canadian, and you're just traveling by air from one Canadian city to another, it's worth carrying your Nexus card.Even though you're not crossing borders, you can still use the card to circumvent the longer passenger lineups - they have Nexus lanes at various places. I guess there's a higher standard of trust with a Nexus card, given all the background checks they do on you to get one.