If you’re a New York resident and you like international travel, last week held bad news for you. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on Thursday that New York state residents are no longer eligible to apply for or to renew membership in Trusted Traveler Programs including Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. If you already have Global Entry (or NEXUS or SENTRI), your status remains active, but you won’t be able to renew. TSA PreCheck, meanwhile, remains unaffected and can still be applied for.
If you hadn’t heard this news, you may have questions. For example: Why? According to the press release and comments from Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, the issue is New York’s “Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act,” aka the “Green Light Law.” That law, per CNN, “expands the forms of identification that can be used by applicants to obtain a driver’s license, including foreign passports and a foreign driver’s license, while protecting applicants’ information from immigration enforcement agencies.”
New York is planning to sue the Trump administration over the move. At least for now, though, this is the new reality for New Yorkers. If you’re not already enrolled, you won’t be able to sign up for Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST until something changes, and if you’re up for renewal soon, you won’t be able to renew—and you too will soon be out of luck. If you currently have a Global Entry interview scheduled, meanwhile, you’re out of luck, too. Your appointment has likely been canceled. You should get in touch yourself to confirm, but you can at least expect a refund.
While you can’t sign up for Global Entry…
This is an inconvenient development for New Yorkers, no doubt. Global Entry especially allows for smoother re-entry in the U.S. after an international flight. Fortunately, however, that process is getting easier anyway, with Automated Passport Control available at nearly 40 U.S. airports. And even better: While it’s no longer possible to sign up for Global Entry, you don’t need Global Entry to get the Mobile Passport app. With Mobile Passport, you can speed through Customs after arriving from an international flight. In fact, I’ve heard that Mobile Passport lines are sometimes shorter than Global Entry lines (I’ve never seen that myself). The app is free, though if you want it to store your passport data (instead of having to submit it every trip) you’ll need the premium version ($14.99/year). See more on how Mobile Passport works here.
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