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Mobile Passport Control App review

Here's an App those of us WITHOUT Global Entry will find useful:

The Customs and Border Patrol have an App - available both for Android and Apple devices - that speeds up the immigration line back into the US. Here's an article on it from a few months ago that explains it better than I could. The first paragraph explains it perfectly...

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/mobile-passport-control-app-immigration-customs

We disembarked in Chicago and found the line for those with the Mobile Passport Control. There were zero people waiting. We walked right up, presented the passports and husband's phone that showed the QR code generated by the App. We were on our way in about 60 seconds.

Best part? This App is free.

Here's one more link - this one is from Customs and Border Protection and shows the airports where this is currently available. Also, there's also a question/answer section if you scroll down that answers many questions you might have.

http://mobilepassport.us

Happy Travels!

Posted by
878 posts

I'm glad that you posted this. I have the app and will be using it this month in Miami. Good to know it worked out!

Posted by
6823 posts

I attempted to use it last time we came back into the country in Atlanta, and it totally flopped miserably. Waste of time. That was almost a year ago so maybe things have changed?

Posted by
110 posts

Tim - that's too bad. This was the first time we used this App and found it to be awesome. Maybe whatever you found to be awful has been fixed in the last year. I haven't been through Atlanta on an international flight but I know it's a busy airport like Chicago so hopefully this system continues to work to keep people moving.

Posted by
283 posts

I will certainly check this out, as they have it as my home airport (Seattle). Thanks for posting amyk, I had no idea this existed.

Posted by
57 posts

I really wanted to use it but I see that Los Angeles International (LAX) is not on the list of participating airports...really?

Posted by
110 posts

Judy - sort of surprised LAX doesn't have it yet since all the airports listed seem to be rather large ones! Maybe soon?

Posted by
2 posts

Used Mobile Passport at Newark Terminal B on 6 May 2016. How it works - you preregister your passport and a "selfie", fill in your arrival and customs details for each trip, then you receive a "receipt" (bar code). You don't fill out the paper customs form. There's a dedicated line at the Immigration hall for mobile passport users, you go up to the agent, scan your barcode, he'll ask what he wants to ask, and then you're through. I got through faster than several people in the Global Entry line. After baggage claim you scan your bar code again at the Customs agent.

Not all airports participate yet - airlines need to participate too -- so you may find a combination of an airport that takes it and an airline that doesn't participate.

Posted by
110 posts

Yes, This is only for entering the US.

As for why those other airports aren't included, who knows? I'm sure that there must be factual statistical support behind why they are rolling this out and starting with certain airports.

Posted by
6 posts

They don't have it at LAX, but they have a ton of electronic Kiosks. Waiting for a Kiosk took about 5 minutes. You enter pretty much the same information you have as the form. Then you wait a couple of minutes for someone to stamp the printout of the electronic form and take your hand written form. Then you grab your luggage....

And wait in a huge looping line for about 45 minutes for someone to verify your stamped printout. So by not having the mobile app at LAX you really aren't missing out on anything. The only thing with no lines for all about stages was Global Entry.

Posted by
82 posts

Used it on Wednesday in Denver. Works perfectly. Got through the lines before the people on our flight that had signed up for Global Entry.

Posted by
7 posts

I used the app on May 28th at Newark's Terminal B and it worked like a charm. Signs all over telling travelers to send their information. There was a short line for Global Entry, Mobile Passport and Diplomats and my wife and I zipped right through. Of course, we had to wait for baggage, but it sure beats standing in a cattle chute for passport control.

Similarly, zipped through the baggage check.

Posted by
3581 posts

I had just read an article about this app and see Canadians can use it as well, but it only looks like Americans and Canadians. It does say they are adding new airports all the time. We've only flown into the US once (we typically drive) and arrived on a red-eye so lines were short, but in the future if we are arriving at a busy time of day I'm hoping to be able to give this app a try.

Posted by
627 posts

I linked to "mobilepassport" on Facebook and asked if there was a timeline when it would be available for Boston's Logan Airport. They responded that it should be available within the next few weeks. We shall see . . .

Posted by
20 posts

I was a real hero for having read about this a few weeks ago! My husband downloaded the app, and when we returned to Atlanta Monday, it was like having a VIP line! The lineup for regular passport control was like the most popular ride at Disney. We had virtually no line and it worked like a charm. I really don't understand how it's helpful, as we still had to show our passports, but who cares. We got a laminated card which got us through the last check point. I'm not sure what the QR code is that zips you through, but I'm sure glad we used this app. As long as the regular passport line was, some of those people may still be in it!

Posted by
2 posts

Remember you read it here 1st: MP is a scam. The app is a MacGuffin, the only diff is your phone screen & PP are scanned rather than a card & PP. Therefore it seems the whole purpose is to get the phone info of the law-abiding and track them. Now it was much quicker: they take a clerk away from the queue to staff the empty new MP line. The astute can take it from here and the rest I lost at "remember".

Posted by
627 posts

Cuteruser2, I don't have anything to hide. If the government wants to track me - so be it.

Posted by
2 posts

I don't know if that is the point. Millions were spent to track you. So in addition to having nothing to hide, do you also have more money than you can spend? And I don't see how even someone who has nothing to hide wants a deceptive government. The wait is less because a clerk is taken from the Sneeches with no star line to create a Sneeches with a star line. Call me egalitarian but I'm not raving over this stunt.

Posted by
290 posts

This is great! So glad I saw this today as we leave tomorrow (but of course won't use it until we return). I'll report back here on how it went.

Posted by
21 posts

Question: I am already enrolled in GLOBAL ENTRY program. Is it helpful (ie speedier) if I also download the Mobile Passport app or would that be unnecessary?

Posted by
672 posts

After getting off the plane in San Francisco and following the herd to Customs, I showed our Mobile Passport app and a new line was opened for us. We went straight to the front of the room and were processed immediately, much to my complete amazement.

Posted by
730 posts

Larry,
Coming back into JFK, in the front of the coach section, the Mobile Passport line had one person in front of us, there was a small group of people in the area of the Global Entry kiosks, looked to be more than one person waiting for each one, but not a lot more. I'd guess that the benefit really depends on what airport, what order you get off the plane, and what other flights arrived before you. I have Global Entry but my husband does not, so I downloaded Mobile Passport and used it for both of us. It worked great. You could always have it at the ready and use the line that is best at the time - belt & suspenders. :)

Posted by
627 posts

So you need a smartphone for this, correct?

Mary, yes, you need a smartphone that can download the App which would allow you to connect to their site.

Posted by
3581 posts

I downloaded it on my ipad, so I'm assuming as long as there is wifi avail at the airport, I could use it. I had an update today and see it added 4 or 5 more airports including Dulles (I can't rem the others).

Posted by
555 posts

A little confused. I downloaded the MP app. My husband does not have a smartphone. Can I add his passport info too. If so, will this allow him to access the mobile passpirt line with me?

Posted by
319 posts

Yes and yes, according to the FAQ. You can add profiles for your family members and then when you travelling back to the US, instead of filling out the customs form, you create a New Trip.

Posted by
672 posts

Camille,
I put both my husband's and my passports on my phone and we used it with complete ease last month.

Posted by
1 posts

I have a US passport but my wife is EU citizen but US resident. . Will this work for us ?

Posted by
627 posts

Pgalgiani, if you are connected on Facebook, you can ask this question on the Mobile Passport Control page. They have been very responsive to questions. Good luck.

Posted by
1 posts

I just watched a report on 60 Minutes about phone INsecurity. Have app downloaded but have major concerns about posting this information, especially if connecting to airport wi-fi. Thoughts? Would it help to use a VPN?

Posted by
110 posts

I think my husband filled out our information the day we left.

Posted by
292 posts

Pilgrim,
What is the name of the Facebook page. I searched for Mobile Passport Control and did not find it. Thanks.

Posted by
9361 posts

SS, the app doesn't require network access, so there is no concern about "security". I put my basic information in (protected by a PIN number) then add my trips as I need to.

Posted by
9361 posts

Pilgrim is right. The Facebook page is "mobilepassport".

Posted by
4817 posts

Came in through SFO today, huge line of people waiting to use kiosks. I found the sign for "mobile passport" on the OTHER side of the line, asked the guy directing people to the kiosks and he let us through to the line of 6 people who had receipts from mobile passport app on their phones, and we were done in maybe 2 minutes.

There are quite a few airports set up for this now.

Posted by
14 posts

I tried to use the app on our return flight from Italy at JFK in early October. The app would not give me a QR code after I submitted our information. I tried it 2 times with no luck. We had to join the long lines for U.S. citizens using the kiosks. To add insult to the entire episode the kiosk printed our receipt with a huge X on them. The X on the receipt meant that we had to join the next long line where there were only 2 border agents working. These agents took much more time in interviewing each person. I asked the agent why my app didn't work and he had no answer for me. He did say that because I tried to use it 2 times and then had to use a kiosk, it automatically triggers an X! He said anyone having problems using the kiosk and needs to submit their passport or info more than once get an X, too! It's no wonder that the lines were long and took almost 1 hour to get through!!! Horrible experience!

Posted by
34 posts

Used the app for the first time last week Malpensa to JFK.. Entered our information before we left Milan, submitted it upon landing and immediately received receipt. We went through the the very short Global Entry line. Agents were polite and helpful and we were on our way in 15 minutes. Amazing!

Posted by
290 posts

I've used it twice now' awesome both times. I went into a different line that Global Entry and got out faster than the Global Entry people. Awesome app.

Posted by
680 posts

So, hubby downloaded the app and I have both his and my passport info and picture. When I try to add a new trip EWR is listed just fine...but when I get to the airline part, Aer Lingus is not listed. I guess this means we won't be able to use this app? On the way home we fly Dusseldorf to Dublin to Newark, both legs being on Aer Lingus. Am I missing something?

Posted by
134 posts

@kathy-
I think this is because at Dublin airport you are going to go through USA boarder pre-clearance and customs, landing in USA at a regular terminal without the need to clear immigration again. This is what I did last month going to Boston from Dublin.

Posted by
1 posts

Am I mistaken, but with this app, you don't get TSA Precheck access, do you? I would think that, by itself, would be worth getting Global Entry instead, right?

Posted by
6197 posts

Izzies7--Correct. For some people TSA pre-check could be the Global Entry deal-maker. It's your call.

Posted by
176 posts

One of the posters stated that you didn't need wifi. However, I went to the website and it stated that once you get to the airport, you need to connect to wifi. I don't normally use airport wifi, as my ipad indicates that it is not secure. I do have a jetpack that I use for my phone and ipad when it is not secure wifi. So what I want ot know, are most of you able to use it without connecting to wifi?

Posted by
730 posts

I used it with my phone's regular cellular connection, not on wifi. Won't work on your ipad unless it's one with a cellular connection.

Posted by
4 posts

The app sounds interesting, but I would not trust the feds. There is most likely something in the app that allows them to gather data on you while out of the country.

Posted by
117 posts

Hello, I was wondering if the app can be used by Canadian citizens with green cards residing in the US? The website states Canadian passport holders with B1 or B2 status can use it, but nothing regarding permanent residents, which makes me wonder. Anyway, I have a question into the Mobile Passport Facebook page. But thought I'd ask here as well.

Next step, a Google search.

Posted by
2500 posts

There is most likely something in the app that allows them to gather data on you while out of the country.

I don't worry about that. The government has been gathering data about us forever, and gets better at it all the time. I'm not going to let that get in the way of traveling.
As to not using airport wifi, I think that's not unreasonable, but it appears you can use either wifi or your cellular service.

Posted by
1381 posts

My experience with the APP was that it was basically useless. It does not get you in a better line in Atlanta and it seems to demand perfect conditions to actually work. We got it to work, but the time spent playing with it was a waste. We would have done just as well to go to the kiosk!

Posted by
134 posts

I used the app yesterday at Boston Logan. I had the app downloaded weeks before on my iPhone 5s and filled all the required info over hotel's wifi in Spain the night before flying back home. Once the plane arrived, I turned on my phone and pressed a submit button. Immediately got their receipt with the code but by then I was already connected to cell network through my regular phone plan. In Logan there are well marked signs directed to mobile passport, it leads to a little gate and a pretty much empty line for passport control. I was the only one there, scanned the receipt barcode and showed my passport to the officer, then got through customs the same way. No need to fill out customs declaration form either. So I got out of the plane and the airport probably in 10 minutes. This would be different if I had to wait for a checked bag of course but it was great for a carry on.
It was wonderful and the quickest ever!

Posted by
6197 posts

Coming back from the Caribbean to BWI, we were the first ones through thanks to Mobile Passport, but then we had to wait for the checked bag with the bottles of rhum inside. Otherwise, we would have been out the door in five minutes.

Posted by
409 posts

The app worked great in Denver this week. No line to show our passports and scan the QR code, we were given a laminated card that we had to give to the customs agent. We had to wait for our skis with oversized luggage but with the card we just breeezed through without any questions.

There is no unique data in the app that could give the government more data than they get from the paper form, there is no reason not to use it!