Congressman Brian Higgins welcomed news U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched a new pilot program to allow Trusted Traveler Program members to conduct renewal interviews virtually. The initiative comes after Higgins sent a letter requesting CBP and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) resume NEXUS interviews, despite ongoing travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, by allowing the required in-person interview to be held online.
Higgins said, “Trusted Traveler status has traditionally allowed for expedited prescreened crossings. As we work to open the border, steps like this will be helpful toward the goal of keeping traffic moving efficiently.”
Trusted Traveler options, including the NEXUS, FAST and SENTRI programs, allow for expedited border crossings by prescreening travelers. Previously, applicants were required to participate in two separate in-person interviews with agents from both the CBP and CBSA, a practice that was placed on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions. Higgins’ press release stated, “These new complications, coupled with President Trump’s unjust policy banning New Yorkers from participating in the NEXUS program, created a backlog in NEXUS application processing that Higgins urged CBP to address in his letter.”
The new CBP program will allow eligible Trusted Travel Program members to complete enrollment through Zoom video teleconferencing. Requirements to be eligible include being at least 18 years old, with a conditional approval for a TTP renewal, and both a recent photo and fingerprints on file with the CBP. Western New Yorkers wishing to participate in a virtual interview may schedule one by visiting https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov/. Select the “Scheduling Your Remote Interview” link. A video explaining the pilot project is available at: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/video-gallery/video-library/trusted-traveler-remote-interview-pilot.
Higgins serves as co-chair of the congressional northern border caucus and the Canada-U.S. interparliamentary group. His Western New York district includes the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and borders Southern Ontario.