The Mobile Passport Control App: How to Make Air Travel a Breeze in 2024

There’s a secret hack international travelers have been using for years to skip the long lines at customs—and it doesn’t cost a single cent. Enter Mobile Passport Control. Run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, this app adds some much-needed convenience to your international travel. And while it doesn’t replace the need for a passport, it can get you in and out of the dreaded customs process that much quicker. Here’s everything you need to know about the Mobile Passport Control app, from what it is to how you can use it to speed up your return on your next international getaway.

Table of Contents

What Is Mobile Passport Control?

In a nutshell: The Mobile Passport Control App

  • Is FREE
  • Doesn’t require preapproval
  • Lets you SKIP the paper forms and enjoy shorter wait times at the airport

You may have had travel buddies before, but none like this one. The Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app is a quick and easy way for travelers to bypass the long lines at customs without spending a single penny—looking at you, Global Entry!

Available through Apple and the Google App Store, the Mobile Passport Control App replaces traditional pen and paper customs declaration forms, letting you slip right on by those pesky long lines for immigration kiosks. The app lets you safely and securely enter your declaration information right from your smartphone, transforming the customs process from a dreaded necessity into a near-painless procedure on your return home. Best of all, the app is free and doesn’t require any lengthy preapproval process to use.

How to Use the Mobile Passport Control App in 4 Simple Steps

Image Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The Mobile Passport Control App is simple and easy to use. It’s so simple, in fact, that only four straightforward steps separate you from an expedited customs process.

  1. Download the app before you travel.
  2. Fill out your information.
  3. Submit your entry form and get your MPC receipt.
  4. Present your receipt to a CBP officer.

Getting ready for your international getaway? Before you even step foot out of the country, you can complete the first two steps in less than five minutes. Step one is to download the Mobile Control app on your phone. Step two is creating your profile. Setting up a profile is effortless; it only requires entering your passport information and snapping a quick selfie. You can repeat this same process for everyone in your family and also store the information for future use.

Upon your return is when you can put the wheels in motion—figuratively anyway. Once you arrive at your airport or seaport, you’ll proceed with the entry process. You’ll fill out some trip-specific information, such as the travel method, your entry port/terminal, and more CBP-related questions. This is why you’ll want to wait to submit your entry form until after you arrive to ensure the information entered is accurate. 

After you hit submit, you’ll receive a receipt in the app. From deboarding, you’ll follow the signs to customs and your special Mobile Passport Control queue. Then, proceed to a CBP Officer and present your receipt.

And you’re done! Just like that, international travel becomes a breeze. Pair it with incredible deals to jaw-dropping destinations, and there will be nothing holding you back from exploring the world—be it long customs lines or expensive flights.

Who Is Eligible for Mobile Passport Control?

It’s not only U.S. citizens who can take advantage of Mobile Passport Control. Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), Canadians, and Visa Waiver Program travelers can too! Permanent residents can check in using their LPR Card/Green Card, Canadian (B1/B2 visitors) can use their country passports the same as U.S. citizens do, and Visa Waiver Program travelers can use their approved ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) to sign up for MPC.

With Mobile Passport, eligible travelers can skip the background check and interviews that come with other, lengthier travel programs like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and still enjoy an expedited customs process.

Is Mobile Passport Good for Families?

Family in terminal at preclearance airport looking for their flight

Mobile Passport is perfect for families. Not only do you save on fees—there are none—but you can store up to 12 profiles on the app. So even if you have a big family, you can submit all your information from one phone. When you complete your submission, it’ll generate one convenient receipt rather than multiple individual ones that each family member must present at customs. 

Do You Have to Pay for Mobile Passport Control?

Mobile Passport is entirely free. Travelers don’t have to pay to download or use the app, which makes it a great alternative to other, more expensive, travel programs that require you to pay as part of the application process. 

A paid version of the app, known simply as Mobile Passport by Airside, did exist before U.S. Customs and Border Protection took over. But since February 2022, MPC has been the only app authorized for submitting passport and travel entry information.

Where Can You Use the Mobile Passport?

Currently, travelers can use the Mobile Passport app and streamline their entry at 50 locations in the United States and abroad. Those sites include 33 U.S. international airports, 13 Preclearance locations, two of which were added in January of this year, and four seaports. More additions are planned for the future.

U.S. Airports 
  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Houston William P. Hobby International Airport (HOU)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
  • Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • San Juan Airport (SJU)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)
Preclearance Locations
  • Aruba Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA)
  • Bermuda L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA)
  • Calgary International Airport (YYC)
  • Dublin Airport (DUB)
  • Edmonton International Airport (YEG)
  • Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)
  • Montreal Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
  • Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS)
  • Ottawa International Airport (YOW)
  • Shannon Airport (SNN)
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
  • Winnipeg James A Richardson International Airport (YWG)
Cruise Ports
  • Miami Seaport
  • Palm Beach Seaport
  • Port Everglades Seaport
  • San Juan Seaport

Mobile Passport vs Automated Passport Control

Automated passport control kiosks at airport allow for quick international entry through customs
Image Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol offers several services to ease the travel pains encountered at the airport and other international ports of entry, including Automated Passport Control (APC). This free service allows travelers entering the United States to skip the paper declaration form and head straight to an APC self-service kiosk, where they can scan their passports, take their photo, and answer the CBP inspection questions. As you might have noticed, these are all things that the Mobile Passport Control app makes possible while you taxi down the runway.

So which is better? The answer is pretty clear. Automated Passport Control is clearly a good alternative for the handful of places where it’s available and Mobile Passport Control is not. However, the latter is undoubtedly the better option for getting through customs quickly and efficiently at most major airports.

Mobile Passport Control vs Global Entry

Okay, Mobile Passport Control has some amazing perks. So you might be wondering just how it stacks up against something official, like the Global Entry Program. Both tout faster processing at customs and shorter wait times, so what’s the difference? The answer is a lot.

Global Entry requires preapproval through a lengthy enrollment process, which can take 4-6 months, and then an interview. In contrast, travelers can download the Mobile Passport Control app and immediately use it on their next trip. No wait, no preapproval, no interview.

Cost is also a factor. Global Entry requires a $100 application fee, which lasts five years. However, each member applying for Global Entry must pay this fee. Consequently, Mobile Passport Control will be the more affordable option for many families because it’s free and allows for up to 12 profiles under one household.

That said, there are distinct advantages to getting Global Entry vs Mobile Passport Control. Global Entry is available at 77 airports worldwide and offers expedited entry benefits in other countries vs the 50 locations that support Mobile Passport, which can only be used entering the United States. Additionally, members of Global Entry can enjoy TSA PreCheck benefits, shortening the time you have to spend in the airport altogether.

It’s notable, too, that Global Entry members can also use Mobile Passport Control and elect for whichever queue line is shorter at customs. Needless to say, that luxury isn’t available for those who only opt to sign up for Mobile Passport Control.

MPC Will Take Care of You at Customs; Let Next Vacay Take Care of Your Flight Plans

The Mobile Passport Control app makes customs a breeze. Now, if only there was something similar that could take the hassle out of your flight searches. Oh wait—there is. Next Vacay searches thousands of flights daily to deliver only the best deals to your inbox. Forget deals with only pennies’ worth in savings and thousands of pesky alerts for deals that disappear before you can even book. Rest easy knowing that each deal you receive from Next Vacay has been hand-vetted by a real person. And best of all? Signing up for Next Vacay is as easy as joining Mobile Passport Control. Enter your email, choose your home airport, and let the deals come to you. 

Say hello to traveling the easy way. Say hello to Next Vacay.

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