JUNE 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


TSA PreCheck and Global Entry – Time to Enroll?

Dilip Patel


The Transportation Security Administration is aggressively encouraging more people to sign up for TSA PreCheck (or, as TSA puts it: Pre™), a program that permits travelers to go through airport security without having to take off their shoes or light jackets or pulling liquids and laptops out of baggage. They can also walk through metal detectors rather than enduring full-body scanners. By doing background checks on PreCheck enrollees and scanning law-enforcement databases, TSA offers what is essentially pre-9/11 screening to “trusted travelers.” The goal for TSA is to make better use of its designated security lanes, which currently number 590 at 118 U.S. airports. TSA believes PreCheck also enhances aviation security by moving prescreened people from regular lanes and letting screeners focus more closely on other travelers. To entice travelers and test its ability to handle more people, TSA has been selecting regular travelers into PreCheck lanes for a sample of swifter security. Selection is based on criteria such as a passengers’ travel history and the route being flown. TSA officers trained in behavior detection also can move passengers they deem low-risk from regular queues into PreCheck lanes.

TSA is also encouraging travelers to apply to the program directly. The agency is opening enrollment centers across the country, letting people who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents make an appointment or drop in and have fingerprints taken digitally. The $85 background-check fee buys five years of enrollment. TSA expects to have centers at 35 to 40 airports by the end of May and perhaps 75 by the end of 2014. Applications also are taken at many government offices. For locations of enrollment offices and other information, see www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck

Launched in 2011 by invitation only, the program was expanded to include people enrolled in Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program for trusted travelers. Global Entry requires a background check, fingerprinting, and an interview with a Customs officer. Global Entry costs $100 for five years and is an even better deal for people also planning travel outside the U.S. because they also automatically included in PreCheck. But the application and interview process is more extensive.

Renewing DACA

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) began June 15, 2012. From June 15, 2012 until Aug. 15, 2012, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) granted DACA relief until USCIS started receiving requests. Those early cases will soon expire and individuals must renew their DACA status, work authorization, and receive an approval prior to expiration of the initial period of deferred action to avoid a lapse in employment authorization or accrual of unlawful presence. Because only a small fraction of the DACA population was granted relief during this period, special rules governing this class have been issued by USCIS. See ICE-Granted DACA Renewal Guidance, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-process/ice-granted-daca-renewal-guidance.

For the vast majority of DACA recipients, however, the initial two-year grants of DACA will begin to expire in September. Consequently, USCIS is now preparing for that renewal process so that eligible individuals can request and receive an extension of their deferred action without experiencing any lapse in their lawful presence or work authorization.

In late May 2014, USCIS will release a new dual-use Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, for both initial and renewal requests. Those seeking to renew must wait until the new form and guidelines are published. However, in the meantime, USCIS has provided advance information on what to expect. First and foremost, USCIS is providing advance notice that DACA renewal requests should be filed no sooner than 150 days and no later than 120 days before the current period of DACA expires to ensure that the case is processed in time. USCIS anticipates making a determination before the expiration date. If the renewal is not approved in time, the individual will accrue unlawful presence. If, however, the renewal is timely filed – in other words, at least 120 days in advance – and USCIS delays making a decision, a temporary extension of status may be granted prior to adjudication of the case to avoid accruing unlawful presence. Second, USCIS advises that only new documentation pertaining to removal proceedings or criminal history not previously submitted should be filed with the renewal request.

Initial applicants can still use the current form until the new version is available.

Dilip Patel of Shutts & Bowen LLP, a Florida Bar board-certified expert on immigration law, can be reached at (813) 227-8178 or e-mail dpatel@shutts.com

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