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DHS Restricts New York Residents’ Enrollment and Renewal Eligibility for Trusted Traveler Programs

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has suspended New Yorkers’ eligibility to apply for or renew their enrollment in four Trusted Traveler Programs (TTPs) administered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The suspension went into effect on February 5, 2020, in response to New York’s Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, commonly called the “Green Light Law.” The new law, which expands the forms of identification that applicants can use to obtain drivers licenses in the state, also prevents DHS from accessing New York’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records.

Below are some answers to a few frequently asked questions regarding the suspension.

Which TTPs are included in the suspension?

  • Global Entry (expedited entry into the United States for international arrivals)

  • NEXUS (expedited entry into the United States from Canada)

  • SENTRI (expedited entry into the United States from Canada and Mexico)

  • FAST (expedited entry into the United States for truck drivers entering from Canada and Mexico)

What is the reason for the suspension?

DHS states that without access to the information maintained by the New York DMV, CBP cannot complete required security checks for TTP applications and renewals submitted by New York residents.

Who is included in the suspension?

The suspension applies only to residents of New York who are seeking to enroll in or renew membership in one of the four TTPs listed above. New Yorkers currently enrolled in TTPs will retain their benefits until their memberships expire.

What about pending applications and interviews?

CBP will cancel all pending TTP applications and refund all application fees to New York residents.

Is TSA PreCheck included in the suspension?

No. At this time, it does not appear that the suspension includes TSA PreCheck. Although TSA PreCheck is one of the benefits included with the Global Entry, NEXUSand SENTRI programs, travelers (including New Yorkers) can apply for TSA PreCheck separately.

How long will the suspension last?

According to Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli, the suspension will remain in effect until New York State agrees to allow access to its DMV records.

What effect will the suspension have on travel?

As mentioned above, New Yorkers may continue to use any of the four affected TTPs, until their current memberships expire. Upon expiration, travelers may be subject to longer wait times at ports of entry.

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About this Author

Melissa Manna, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Raleigh, Immigration Practice Group Writer
Immigration Practice Group Writer

Melissa Manna is an Immigration Practice Group Writer. Her primary focus is writing and editing legal articles relating to immigration for the firm’s online and print publications, websites, and newsletters.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Melissa spent 9 years as in-house counsel at TowerCo, one of the largest independent wireless tower companies in the U.S., representing the company in all aspects of commercial real estate. During that time she managed due diligence, advised and implemented risk management solutions, and closed transactions...

Alexandra Holland, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Atlanta, Immigration Law Attorney

Alexandra is an immigration attorney in the Atlanta office.  She has been working the in the field of immigration law since 2007, developing a comprehensive understanding of employment-based and family-based immigration.   Her experience includes managing the immigration process for multinational corporations in various industries and business sectors, including software development, packaging/logistics, defense/security, aerospace engineering, optical networking, environmental and electronics engineering, IT consulting, insurance, and academia, among others. 

Alexandra works with multinational organizations to develop and implement internal immigration policies and procedures, including employee policies, I-9 and LCA compliance, and merger and acquisition strategies.