I started my “Travel Tools” series to try and improve YOUR travel experience. I want to keep you up-to-date on the travel apps and services that can help make your travel experience more enjoyable. In my last two installments I discussed the benefits of tracking your loyalty programs through Award Wallet and I explained how to use FlightAware’s free flight tracking service. This week I want to take a closer look at the Mobile Passport.
What is Mobile Passport?
Mobile Passport is an authorized app that was created by the United States Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agency and the Airports Council International-North America to expedite the administrative functions associated with passport control. Mobile Passport allows US citizens and Canadian visitors to submit their passport and declaration information directly to the United States CBP from their mobile device and eliminate the need for paper forms. Mobile Passport will NOT replace your physical passport, but is intended to be used with it.
How does Mobile Passport work?
Mobile Passport doesn’t require any pre-approval or interview process to use and is completely free. Just download the app from the App Store or Google Play and begin setting up your profile with the information as it appears on your valid, official passport. If you’re traveling as a family you can add their passport information to your profile as well. Once you’ve established a profile you won’t do anything else until you arrive back in the US. Upon entering the immigration hall you’ll answer five questions from the US CBP pertaining to your trip and declare any goods you’re brining into the country. Next you’ll submit the information, ensuring that it is correct, and you’ll receive an encrypted receipt with a barcode valid up to four hours. Last, but not least, you’ll follow the signs for Mobile Passport Control.
Where can I use Mobile Passport?
Unfortunately Mobile Passport isn’t available at every airport. There are currently 25 airports and three cruise ports across the US that accept Mobile Passport. If you want a complete list of those you can visit Mobile Passport’s website. While you’re there you can also subscribe to their e-mail list for updates on which airports will be getting Mobile Passport next.
Anyone who travels internationally knows what a pain it can be to clear immigration upon arriving in the US. The Mobile Passport was created to eliminate some of the administrative work and help expedite the immigration process. I just downloaded the Mobile Passport app myself so I can use it after my trip to Budapest. I’m interested to see how much time it truly saves.
Have you used Mobile Passport before? How was your experience?