New iPhone app will let users bypass normal U.S. border protection queues

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today announced the launch of the first authorized app to expedite a traveler’s entry process into the United States. Mobile Passport Control (MPC) will allow eligible travelers to submit their passport information and customs declaration form via a smartphone or tablet prior to CBP inspection. This first-of-its-kind app was developed by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) in partnership with CBP as part of a pilot program at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. iPhone and iPad users can download the app for free from Apple’s App Store.

“We are strongly committed to the facilitation of travel and tourism to the United States, all while maintaining the highest security standards in the world,” said Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, in a statement. “Mobile Passport Control is an important step and one that we think the traveling public will embrace.”

Eligible travelers arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will be able to use the app beginning Aug. 13. MPC is expected to expand to more airports later this year.

“CBP continues to transform the international arrivals experience for travelers by offering new and innovative ways to expedite entry into the United States, while maintaining the highest standards of security,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske in a statement. “By offering this app to passengers, we hope to build upon the success we have already experienced with Automated Passport Control, which has resulted in decreases in wait times as much as 25-40 percent, even with continued growth in international arrivals.”

MPC currently offers U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors a more efficient and secure in-person inspection between the CBP officer and the traveler upon arrival in the United States. Much like Automated Passport Control, the app does not require pre-approval, is free-to-use and does not collect any new information on travelers. As a result, travelers will experience shorter wait times, less congestion and faster processing.

“Mobile Passport exemplifies the forward-thinking commitment CBP and airports have to improving the passenger experience when entering the United States,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke in a statement. “This partnership between CBP and ACI-NA also represents an outstanding example of industry and government working together to find smart, cost-effective solutions. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with CBP as Mobile Passport begins its roll-out at U.S. airports later this year.”

There are five easy steps to MPC:

• Download the Mobile Passport Control App from the Apple App Store prior to arriving
• Create a profile with your passport information
• Complete the “New Trip” section upon arrival in the United States
• Submit your customs declaration form through the app to receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code. This receipt will expire four hours after being issued
• Bring your passport and smartphone or tablet with your digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer

ACI-NA contracted with Airside Mobile in MPC’s technical development. Information about Mobile Passport, including how to download, user eligibility and other frequently asked questions, is available on the Travel section of the website and the Airside Mobile website.

MPC is just one part of CBP’s resource optimization strategy which is transforming the way CBP does business in land, air and sea environments. As part of its commitment to innovation, CBP last year rolled out Automated Passport Control, which is now available in 22 locations, and automated the I-94 form. CBP has also enrolled more than two million travelers in trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. These programs allow CBP officers to process travelers safely and efficiently while enhancing security and reducing operational costs.

More info and download link via Apple’s iTunes App Store here.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

MacDailyNews Take: Settled for less than an iPhone or iPad? Stand in line with the rest of the riffraff, dummy.


    1. It clearly spells that out in the description, in the paragraph below the one about it only being useful in Atlanta:

      MOBILE PASSPORT service is currently available at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), with more airport locations to follow.

      US and Canadian citizens (on B1 or B2 visas) are eligible to use MOBILE PASSPORT. Household members who are traveling together may be included in a single submission.

      1. So if this interpretation is correct, my family would likely be able to use it (my two children traveling with US passports, and my wife and I on non-US). While not quite the same, it would make it a bit more attractive.

  1. Karl Snow Registered User
    Monday, August 25, 2014 – 9:59 am · Reply

    App downloaded.
    “This service is currently only available to U.S. & Canadian Passport Holders.”
    App deleted

    Plus One.

  2. Usually anything the government touches turns to crap. However, based on the reviews at the App Store the Customs Servive apparently did a good job with this app. Good for them. Now let’s hope they get this app out beyond the Atlanta airport in my lifetime.

  3. This won’t do much for tourists if it remains available only for the US and Canadian citizens. For those who don’t know this, international arrivals are split between US citizens and “Visitors” (which are non-US passport holders, regardless of visa type), with one desk usually reserved for A and G (diplomatic and UN) visas. Since the only queue that will experience faster processing is the one for US passports, tourists won’t really benefit from this new app.

    While it does make sense that the US government first takes care of their own before helping others, the purported goal at helping tourists doesn’t quite apply here.

    1. In that this will mean less effort spent on US and Canadian citizens, hopefully it will make more manpower available to process the other folks coming in; so, indirectly, it should benefit tourists as well.

      Love, Captain Obvious. 🙂

      1. That might be true, if they dynamically re-assigned checkpoints between the two groups according to the line length. 23 years of international travel in and out of US tells me that this is almost never the case. The crowds come and go, as big airplanes unload their human cargo, and the US line always moves more quickly than the other one, and only when the US line is completely empty, and the other one remains long, might they begin sending tourists to the checkpoints for Americans. In the years past, these checkpoints weren’t even equipped to process non-US passports; over the years, this has changed, so it is no longer an issue. Still, not often do they send people to those desks designated for the US passports.

        Bottom line: it is likely that the app would indirectly benefit tourists, but not 100% certain.

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