Mobile Passport Control App 2023 – Tutorial, Airports, & Tips
If you find yourself dreading long customs lines when returning to the United States, the Mobile Passport Control app may be right for you. Unlike Global Entry, which is another popular service to get you through customs quicker, the Mobile Passport app does not require a background check, interview, or approval. And the best part is it is completely free to use.
Here is what you need to know about the Mobile Passport app.
What is Mobile Passport Control?
Initially established in 2014 by Airside Mobile, Inc, (this version has been discontinued) Mobile Passport is an app authorized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that allows potentially expedited entry through customs upon arrival to the United States via Mobile Passport Control (MPC). Available for iOS and Android mobile devices, only U.S. citizens and Canadian B1/B2 citizens visitors are currently eligible to use the service.
Upon returning to the United States via airplane or cruise ship at authorized locations, users submit their passport information and declarations directly through the app. This eliminates the need to fill out a paper declaration form, which can be a hassle if you do not have a pen on you during the flight.
After submitting your information electronically to Customs and Border Protection, you will receive a digital receipt. Head over to a special line for Mobile Passport users and show the Customs and Border Protection officer your receipt and a physical copy of your passport.
How Much Does the Mobile Passport Control App Cost?
Previously, Airside Mobile charged $14.99 per year for the premium version of its app. Currently, the only app available is the CBP Mobile Passport Control App, and it is free to use. Users can store their profile and personal information for free on the app. That is important so you do not have to fill out your passport and other information for yourself and your family every single time you use the app to enter the United States. Now that the CBP oversees the only version, expect every feature to remain free.
Mobile Passport App Features at a Glance
Here are the app’s key features.
- Submit Declarations Electronically
- Submit Passport Electronically
- Manage Group’s Profiles (up to 12)
- Can Save Profile Data
- Can Save Photos
- Includes Passport Scanner
- Free to Use
- Does Not Contain Ads
How Do I Download Mobile Passport?
Apple iPhone or iPad users (iOS) can download the app from the App Store
Android users can download the app at Google Play
Who is Eligible for Mobile Passport Control?
As of 2023, only U.S. citizens and Canadian B1/B2 citizens visitors with a valid passport and either B1 or B2 visa status are eligible to use Mobile Passport Control lines. Additionally, you can set up profiles for up to 12 family members within the app, so your entire party can take advantage if they meet the above requirements.
This service is currently not available for U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, but we will update this post if that changes. As previously mentioned, the Mobile Passport app does not require a background check, interview, or approval to use.
How Do I Use Mobile Passport?
To send and receive information and your receipt, you will need to connect to Wi-Fi or use your phone or tablet’s cellular data after landing. Cellular service may be spotty at some airports, so you should be familiar with Wi-Fi credentials beforehand. Your phone or device does not need to be connected to cellular or Wi-Fi to save profile information.
Download and Set Up the App
Step 1. Download the App
Using the App Store or Google Play Store, download the latest version of the CBP Mobile Passport app.
Step 2. Set Up and Save Your Passport Information in Advance
Enter or scan your passport information and save it to the app. If you are entering it manually, make sure you enter the information exactly how it appears on your passport. You need to enter your passport number, surname, given name, date of birth, sex, country of citizenship, date of passport expiration, and issuing authority. You will also need to take a clear forward-facing photo of yourself.
I recommend adding every person who you regularly travel with. The app can store up to 12 people, so it makes sense to be prepared before traveling.
Load the App After Arriving Back in the U.S.
Step 3. Ensure The United States Airport, Canadian Preclearance Location, or Cruise Port You Are Returning to Participates in Mobile Passport
As of February 2023, there are 31 United States airports, four cruise ports, and three Canadian preclearance locations participating in the Mobile Passport program. For a full list, see the section below.
Step 4. Skip The Paper Declaration Form
One of the best parts about Mobile Passport is you no longer have to fill out the paper customs declarations form in the middle of your flight back to the United States. If you do fill it out (just in case Mobile Passport is not working for some reason), you can simply discard it after leaving the airport.
Step 5. Connect to Wi-Fi or Turn Your Cellular Data On After Landing
You will need to connect to Wi-Fi or use your cellular data to access the Mobile Passport app. After successfully connecting to Wi-Fi or verifying your cellular data is working, you should load the app. Select U.S. Airport, Preclearance, or U.S. Seaport to begin the process.
Step 6. Enter Travel Information and Answer a Few CBP Questions
After loading your saved passport information, you will have to enter your travel information. Those arriving by air will have to enter their port of entry and airline. Those arriving by cruise ship will have to enter their port of entry, cruise line, and terminal.
You will then answer a few questions to complete the customs declaration form.
Step 7. Submit the Form Electronically to CBP
Make sure all of your information is correct before submitting the form electronically to Customs and Border Protection. After submitting the form, you will receive a digital receipt that is valid for four hours.
If you will be submitting a Mobile Passport for anyone else in your group, now is the time to do that. Simply follow the steps above to submit the remainder of your group’s passports from your device.
Step 8. Go to the Special Mobile Passport Line
After submitting your passport and everyone else’s in your group, you will now go to the special Mobile Passport line. Generally, this line is shorter than the traditional line. In addition to showing the CBP officer your Mobile Passport receipt, you will also need to show a physical copy of your passport. After scanning your receipt and answering a few questions, you should be on your way.
What Airports, Canadian Preclearance Locations, and Cruise Ports Accept Mobile Passport?
There are currently 31 airports, three Canadian preclearance, and four cruise ports participating in Mobile Passport. We will update the list as new locations are added.
United States Airports
- Atlanta – Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)
- Baltimore – Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
- Boston – Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
- Chicago – Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- Dallas – Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
- Denver – Denver International Airport (DEN)
- Fort Lauderdale – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
- Honolulu – Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
- Houston – George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
- Houston – William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
- Kansas City – Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
- Las Vegas – Las Vegas Harry Ried International Airport (LAS) – Opens 2/21/2023
- Los Angeles – Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Miami – Miami International Airport (MIA)
- Minneapolis – Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
- New York City – John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- Newark – Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- Oakland – Oakland International Airport (OAK)
- Orlando – Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Philadelphia – Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- Phoenix – Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
- Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
- Portland – Portland International Airport (PDX)
- Sacramento – Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
- Salt Lake City – Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
- San Diego – San Diego International Airport (SAN)
- San Fransisco – San Fransisco International Airport (SFO)
- San Jose – Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
- San Juan – Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
- Seattle – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
- Tampa – Tampa International Airport (TPA)
- Washington Dulles – Dulles International Airpot (IAD)
Canadian Preclearance Locations
- Calgary – Calgary International Airport (YYC) – Opens 2/28/2023
- Edmonton – Edmonton International Airport (YEG) – Opens 2/28/2023
- Montreal – Montreal Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
- Nova Scotia – Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) – Opens 2/28/2023
- Ottawa – Ottawa International Airport (YOW) – Opens 2/28/2023
- Toronto – Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
- Vancouver – Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
- Winnipeg – Winnipeg James A Richardson International Airport (YWG) – Opens 2/28/2023
- Fort Lauderdale – Port Everglades Cruise Port (PEV)
- Miami – Miami Seaport Cruise Port (MSE)
- Palm Beach – Port of Palm Beach Cruise Port (WPB)
- San Juan – Port of San Juan Cruise Port (PUE)
Mobile Passport or Global Entry
The Mobile Passport app is meant to be an alternative to Global Entry as opposed to a replacement. Both generally offer expedited service through customs, but only Global Entry requires approval. We recommend having both as the lines for each may vary by airport and time. After deplaning, simply see which line is shorter and choose that service.
The Vacationer Tip
Even if you are already a Global Entry member, you can download the free CBP Mobile Passport app and pick the shorter line.
If you have Global Entry and your travel group does not, you should take advantage of Mobile Passport. This will allow the rest of your group to expedite their way through customs without having to sign up for Global Entry. As a Global Entry member, you are free to use Mobile Passport, but you have to pick one or the other. Everyone in your group should individually download the app or you can enter everyone’s information in your app.
One of the best features of Global Entry is TSA PreCheck, and the Mobile Passport app does not include it. If PreCheck is important to you, we recommend either signing up for it directly or applying for Global Entry.
Global Entry’s additional benefits do come at a cost, however. Applicants must pay a $100 application fee for a five-year membership. The entire approval and interview process sometimes takes several months, which is another drawback. The good news is many credit cards offer Global Entry reimbursement for the $100 fee.
Further Reading: How to Get a Global Entry Interview Appointment Faster
Mobile Passport Control is the actual process of using apps to expedite entry through customs upon arrival to the United States.
No. The Mobile Passport app is free.
The only current app is the CBP Mobile Passport Control app. Previously, Airside Mobile had an app, but it is no longer available. Additionally, CLEAR offered its version called the CLEAR Pass, which is also no longer available.
Yes, you must still carry your physical passport and present it to the CBP officer before leaving the airport.
You cannot use both services at the same time. You should pick one or the other after landing and seeing the line for each.
No. Mobile Passport will only expedite entry through customs when returning to the United States. It does not include PreCheck nor will it allow you to go through security faster before flying.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
The CBP Mobile Passport Control app is a smart decision for anyone returning to the United States by land or sea. You are almost guaranteed to get through customs faster, and it is free to use. It is a solid alternative if you do not want to pay for a Global Entry membership.
Featured Image by cytis via Pixabay
Get The Vacationer Newsletter
Get highlights of the most important news delivered to your email inbox