01/29/2015 11:04 EST | Updated 03/31/2015 05:59 EDT

New Nexus card processing facility opens in Blaine, Washington

A new Nexus card facility opening just south of the U.S. border crossing from B.C. is expected to drastically speed up the process of getting that coveted card.

The card is designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk travellers into Canada and the U.S. once they go through a screening interview process. But it can be a lengthy process.

But the new Trusted Traveller Enrollment Center in Blaine, Wash. will be able to handle more than 300 Nexus interviews a day — more than double of what was processed at the old building at Peace Arch. 

"We can process the applications faster, interview the individuals so that we can approve the application at a faster rate than we used to in the past," said Michele James, director of field operations at U.S. customs and border protection. 

It is the biggest facility of its kind. 

Ironically, the facility's grand opening comes as new Canada Border Services Agency statistics show a 12.5 per cent drop in Canadians crossing over to the U.S. from this time last year — thanks in large part to the falling loonie. 

But officials say the demand for Nexus cards is still high.

"The thing about the falling dollar one way or another, whether it's Canadian or American, is these things are cyclical," said Lynne Platt, the U.S. Consul General Vancouver.

"It may feel like, from the Canadian side, the dollar doesn't go as far down here. But on the other hand, it attracts more Americans to go the other direction."