US CBP launches Mobile Passport Control app

Allows eligible passengers to submit passport and customs information by smartphone or tablet prior to CBP inspection

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched the first authorised app to expedite a traveller’s entry process into the US.

CBP launches Mobile Passport Control appMobile Passport Control (MPC) will allow eligible passengers to submit their passport information and customs declaration form via a smartphone or tablet prior to CBP inspection. This app was developed by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) in partnership with CBP as part of a pilot programme 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 US, all while maintaining the highest security standards in the world,” says deputy secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Mobile Passport Control is an important step and one that we think the travelling public will embrace.”

Eligible passengers arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will be able to use the app from 13 August 2014. MPC is expected to expand to more airports later this year and to Android smartphone users in the future.

CBP Commissioner R Gil Kerlikowske said, “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%, even with continued growth in international arrivals.”

MPC currently offers US citizens and Canadian visitors a more efficient and secure in-person inspection between the CBP officer and the traveller upon arrival in the US. Much like Automated Passport Control, the app does not require pre-approval, is free-to-use and does not collect any new information on travellers. As a result, travellers 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 US,” says ACI-NA president and CEO Kevin M Burke. “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 US airports later this year.”

How it works

Passengers follow these five steps to MPC:

• Download the Mobile Passport Control App from the Apple App Store prior to arriving

• Create a profile with their passport information

• Complete the ‘New Trip’ section upon arrival in the US

• Submit their 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

• Take their passport and smartphone or tablet with their digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer