What’s completely FREE, backed by the Department of Homeland Security and will expedite your entry into the U.S.? Thumb your nose at that snaking entry queue and sashay away to the dedicated Mobile Passport entrance. Cause lines are for chumps.
There’s nothing I love more than waiting. And waiting. Even better if I’ve just gotten off of an international flight. Sitting coach. Surely you feel the same? No? And the forms. Declare, declare, declare. I always need a pen. ‘Can I borrow a pen?’… ‘Crap, messed it up, can I have a new one?’… ‘Hello?’ ‘Hello?’
We’ve been able to put men on the moon and accomplished all of the minutiae that process entailed (zip it, conspiracy theorists), yet for some reason, we can’t speed up the queues at Customs and Border Patrol. (I have to admit though, I use mind control to will the sniffer dogs my way. That? I have time for. Smell me, smell me, I think. Just one little pat, just between the ears.) LET ME LOVE YOU…..
By the way, did you know that increasingly airports are using floppy-eared dogs and the public finds them less menacing than pointy-eared dogs?
Other than accosting furred government officials, there isn’t much to be enjoyed about the business of international arrivals. Thankfully, Hans Miller is changing that: He’s giving you your time back with the development of an app called Mobile Passport. He’s the same one who helped to build a little agency after the events of 9/11 called the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA), perhaps you’re familiar? The implementation of mobile boarding passes? That was Hans Miller in 2007. Developed with his business partner, Adam Tsao, and at the behest of the Airports Council International for North America and Boeing, Mobile Passport was born at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in fabulous Atlanta in 2014. That’s 5 years ago! And still, it remains under the radar.
Now having expanded into 26 U.S. international airports, and 3 [cruise] ports of entry, the app is available for both Apple and Android mobile devices. It’s open for U.S. Citizens and for Canadian visitors, and as mentioned previously, completely free. There is a paid PLUS version for $14.99/yr which allows the user to store information for future trips and use the automated document scanner to input your details more quickly. The free version requires you to do it after landing.
How does it work you say? It’s reeeeeeeealllly simple. You download the app in advance. Upon arrival in the U.S. at one of the 26 participating airports, turn on your wi-fi, enter your passport information, take a selfie and answer the questions. This means you don’t have to complete a declaration form, either. Winning, right? It also means you breeze through customs like a diplomat through a dedicated express line. Yes, you will be required to present your actual passport to the CBP officer here.
It differs from Global Entry in that there is no interview, no wait for approval and no $100 fee.
What do you think? Would you spring for the $15 version? Is it worth the cost of say, three latte’s for a sure thing? What’s the value of your time?
“Time is what we want most, but use worst.”-William Penn