What you need to know about the Mobile Passport Control app

Mobile passport control allows US and Canadian citizens to avoid filling out paper customs declaration forms and bypass customs and immigration kiosks at US airports and cruise terminals. The free Mobile Passport app is available on the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store and is ideal for travelers who don’t want to queue to use (or touch) a Global Entry kiosk.

The mobile passport does not replace a traditional passport. But you save time by electronically completing the required documentation when your plane lands.

Applying for a mobile passport is faster and easier than apply for Global Entry, which has a lengthy approval process that includes an in-person interview. The mobile passport takes a little longer when you use it, as you need to enter more passenger information than you would for Global Entry. But for most travelers, Mobile Passport is much more convenient. Plus, unlike Global Entry’s $ 100 registration fee, the basic version of Mobile Passport is free.

Mobile Passport does not require background checks, maintenance or prior approval. This means that you can download it when you land and use it immediately. You enter the required information after you land and as you roll to the gate, or when you disembark your ship, so that when you enter the terminal, you go straight to a fast-track line for faster processing.

Mobile passport control was launched in 2014 through a partnership between the Airports Council International-North America and US Customs and Border Protection to speed up administrative tasks performed by customs officers and reduce passenger wait times and paperwork at the airport.

Who can use the app?

Mobile passport control is limited to US citizens with a valid passport and Canadian citizens with a valid passport and B1 or B2 visa. You must have your passport in your possession in conjunction with the application. The mobile passport is not linked to TSA or Global Entry preclearance; it only works at the US customs and immigration port of entry, not airport security. Downloading and using the Mobile Passport app does not mean that you are approved for any of these Accelerated Security or Trusted Traveler programs.

How it works?

The encrypted Mobile Passport app, which can be protected with a PIN or a touch / visual ID using your phone settings, asks you to set up a profile, take a selfie, and answer questions about your trip . The app will then send the encrypted information to Customs and Border Patrol, and you’ll get a barcode on your phone to scan at an agent’s desk. The barcode is valid for four hours.

Most airports have dedicated lines for Mobile Passport app users, which saves time because you don’t wait in line with travelers submitting their arrival information at a physical kiosk. Every airport is different. Some mix the Mobile Passport line with other lanes, then direct you to a dedicated booth to complete the process. Whether the Mobile Passport or Global Entry line is faster will vary depending on the airport and the situation.

Once at the agent’s desk, Mobile Passport users hand in their passports and scan the code on the app. There are still occasional questions from the agent, but dedicated lines usually mean much faster processing than in the general inbound queue.

Mobile Passport users can pay an annual fee of $ 14.99 (or monthly fee of $ 4.99) for the Premium Mobile Passport plus version without advertising in order to have details such as passport number and date expiration and a personal photo saved in the application. Otherwise, you have to spend a few extra minutes entering this information every time you use the app.

Mobile Passport plus allows you to scan your passport using your device’s camera instead of manually entering details. It will store it in the app to save you time. The premium version also keeps a history of your trips so you can edit the fields of past entries as a faster template for a new trip.

Which US airports accept the application?

Can I add family members?

Unlike Global Entry, which requires each person to apply and be approved, Mobile Passport allows you to create a profile for members of the same household and submit it in one transaction, eliminating the need to enter the same details for each person. . Everyone must hold a valid US passport or Canadian citizen with a valid Canadian passport and B1 or B2 visa.

The bottom line

If your travels take you outside of the United States, consider downloading the free Mobile Passport app to clear customs faster when you get home. It’s free, and when you apply, you won’t have to go through the lengthy approval and interview process required by Global Entry. Then, when your plane lands in the United States, all you need to do is enter the required customs information into the app and head to the Mobile Passport Control line for faster entry into the United States.

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