DHS suspends New York residents from enrolling in Global Entry, other Trusted Traveler Programs

Feb 6, 2020

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On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it was immediately barring New York state residents from enrolling in Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs because of the state’s new “Green Light Law”, which protects undocumented immigrants. Effective immediately, New Yorkers wishing to enroll in Global Entry, as well as those wishing to re-enroll will no longer be able to. Existing members will be able to continue to use the Global Entry service.

Related: Top credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

The DHS is forbidding New Yorkers from enrolling or re-enrolling in Trusted Travel Programs, including the popular Global Entry program, a favorite frequent international travelers. The new restrictions do not apply to New York residents who are currently members of the Global Entry program.

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“Today, we sent a letter to New York indicating, because they took these measures, that New York residents are no longer eligible to enroll in these Trusted Traveler Programs,” acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a Fox News interview on Wednesday.

Aside from Global Entry, also included in the list of programs no longer eligible for new New York members include Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI), a similar program to Global Entry that allows qualified travelers expedited re-entry into the U.S.after Canada and Mexico travel; NEXUS, which allows for expedited border crossing between the U.S. and Canada; and the Free And Secure Trade (FAST) program, which allows commercial shipments between the U.S. border and Canada and Mexico to clear faster.

Notably missing in the list of now-restricted programs is the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program, a popular option for frequent travelers that offers expedited security screening at U.S. airports with participating airlines. It’s worth noting that a Global Entry membership also comes with a membership to the PreCheck program.

New York’s Green Light Law, the legislation in question, went into effect on Dec. 14. It allows undocumented immigrants to apply for New York state driver’s licenses while protecting applicants’ personal information from immigration agencies. The law protects the Department of Motor Vehicle’s database from being accessed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as Customs and Border Protection without a court order.

“Although DHS would prefer to continue our long-standing cooperative relationship with New York on a variety of these critical homeland security initiatives, this Act and the corresponding lack of security cooperation from the New York DMV requires DHS to take immediate action to ensure DHS’s efforts to protect the Homeland are not compromised,” the letter read.

Because the new restrictions only apply to those new enrollees or existing members who are re-enrolling, if you’re a current member of Global Entry, you’ll continue to be able to utilize the service upon re-entering the U.S. from abroad. New York state residents who are due to re-enroll in the Global Entry program will not be able to do so.

Global Entry membership lasts five years before it must be renewed, and it expires on the member’s birthday during that fifth year. Members are eligible to renew a membership one year prior to the expiration. If the membership expires while you’re still waiting on CBP to process the renewed membership, you can continue to use Global Entry services for up to one year — as long as you have submitted a renewal application.

Because the DHS’ restrictions are effective immediately, if you’re a New York state resident who is due to re-enroll in Global Entry or in one of the three other included TTPs, you will not be able to do so. To find out the expiration of your Global Entry membership, log in to your Trusted Traveler Programs account for more information.

While the DHS policy is in place, there may be some workarounds for New York state residents with expiring Global Entry memberships or those who had not yet applied. The CBP offers an authorized app called Mobile Passport, which allows eligible travelers to streamline their arrival back into the U.S. Mobile Passport, which requires that you are a U.S. citizen or Canadian visitor, is available at 27 U.S. international airports and can often be a better, quicker way to re-enter the U.S. than Global Entry. For a preferred membership, Mobile Passport costs $14.99 per year.

Wednesday’s letter from the DHS to New York did not include any indication that Mobile Passport use would be restricted for New York state residents.

Featured photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images.

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