Recently US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched the Mobile Passport application for everyone entering through select airports. The Mobile Passport allows you to skip the lines and even the new automated kiosks and head straight to a special (hopefully quicker and shorter) line. At the time of writing this there were five airports currently live and the ability to email them your next choices.
The Mobile Passport App by Airside Mobile lets you skip the line at US airports for Custom and Border Protection (CBP). Just fill out your profile and answer CBP’s questions – then go straight to the “Mobile Passport Control” express lane at the airport!
To get the application you can head to the official MobilePassport.us website and click the links for the iOS or Android versions so you know you are getting the real CBP apps. While I did not find any fake ones yet, you will be scanning and entering your actual US Passport information so I would make sure it is the real one you are downloading.
Setup of the application itself was quite simple. You enter your profile information from your official US Passport. This includes taking a picture of yourself and then scanning the barcode on your passport or entering it all manually. I did this step both ways and like the scanning but did not get it to work every time. Another bonus is that a single family can all use one app. Each person needs a profile/entry into the application. but you do not all need the app on your phone. Individuals travelling would need the app installed.
The next part is what makes skipping the line possible. You simply enter your flight information and answer the same basic questions you would at the automated kiosk or on the paper form. You then submit that and will get back a receipt with an encrypted barcode. This barcode is only good for four hours. So for short flights you could do this right before takeoff, but it is best to wait till right when you hit the runway and can use your phone again.
That QR code is extremely important and you must make sure the person you selected has the right picture. These are official forms used so everything you answer and do is under the scrutiny of US Customs and Border Protection. I saw a couple people have issues by not doing a step right. YOu may ask yourself who can use this Mobile Passport app? Directly from their help files is the following:
US citizens with a valid US passport and Canadian citizens with both a valid Canadian passport and B1 or B2 visa status may use the Mobile Passport App. You must have an iOS or Android device that can connect to the internet.
So you will not qualify yet under any other programs or travel Visas. I personally use Global Entry and could not get the Mobile Passport app to approve me so I could walk with everyone else I was travelling with at the time. A CBP rep said I should keep using Global Entry since I am approved for it making my time even shorter.
One last note. This does not replace your actual US Passport. You still need to present your passport. This just removes the paper forms and speeds the process along.