Global Entry Starts Rejecting New York Residents, DHS Says Refunds on the Way

Nearly two weeks after applying, an AFAR staffer (and a New York State resident) has been notified that she isn’t eligible to enroll in the Trusted Traveler Program—she’s still awaiting the fate of the $100 application fee that was charged to her credit card.

Global Entry Starts Rejecting New York Residents, DHS Says Refunds on the Way

New York State residents were informed this week that they are not eligible for Global Entry.

Illustration by Creatarka/Shutterstock

As soon as AFAR found out earlier this month that New York State residents would no longer be eligible to enroll or re-enroll in Global Entry and three other Trusted Traveler Programs, we decided to have a New York–based staffer apply for Global Entry to find out how the process would actually unfold for New York residents.

On February 6, the same day the news was announced, she was able to complete the Global Entry application and her credit card was charged the $100 fee. This week, she received her response via email: “You do not meet the program eligibility requirements because you have listed the state of New York as your current residence.”

And apparently, the AFAR staffer wasn’t alone. That same response letter was posted by numerous others on Twitter.

How is this even legal? Global Entry took my $100 to apply prior to the law and now i’m being denied my interview which was scheduled after my initial approval. At least give me my money back. #CBPpolicy #globalentry — Renée Nicole Gray (@reneenicolegray) February 19, 2020

The rejections come after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the new policy earlier this month. The new policy was put in place as a response to the state’s recent updates to its sanctuary city policies that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

“The decision comes as the State of New York implements the ‘Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act,’ which prohibits CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] from accessing information maintained by the New York DMV. Without access to this information, CBP cannot properly complete security checks for Trusted Traveler Program applications and renewals submitted by New York residents, greatly increasing our security risk,” DHS stated in a press release.

New York residents who have Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST can continue to use these Trusted Traveler Program memberships until they expire but will not be able to apply for new memberships or to re-enroll in these programs. The move doesn’t affect TSA PreCheck applications or use of the Mobile Passport app.

While the AFAR staffer who applied for Global Entry on February 6 has been informed that she was denied entry into the program, she is still awaiting a refund for the $100 fee that was charged to her credit card. When asked about refunds, the DHS pointed us to the same release cited above, which states that “refunds will be processed automatically.” No timetable was offered for when the refunds would be processed.

Four days after DHS announced its new policy, the state of New York filed a lawsuit against the federal government, calling the move to deny New York residents access to Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs “unconstitutional” and “unlawful.”

“The Trump Administration’s new policy not only negatively impacts travelers, workers, commerce, and our economy, but it jeopardizes public safety,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement about the lawsuit.

The New York Civil Liberties Union also filed a federal lawsuit against DHS and CBP on behalf of New York residents.

The law that sparked DHS’s decision to ban New Yorkers from Global Entry access is New York’s Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, also known as the “Green Light Law.” It went into effect in December 2019 and allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses without having to release their information to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the CBP, the agency that vets people for these Trusted Traveler Programs.

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Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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