This Free App Could Be Better Than Global Entry When Flying to US

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Air travel has seen a big boost this summer and is getting close to 2019 numbers. On some days, travelers passing through TSA checkpoints has even surpassed pre-pandemic levels. On May 22nd for example, 2,350,927 people did so, compared to 2,070,716 three years ago. And more people could be flying to the US now that the testing requirements will end.

But as more people fly, we also expect to see more cancellations due to staffing shortages and long lines at airports. For the latter, there are some options to get you through checkpoints in a timely manner.

Services like TSA PreCheck and CLEAR are very useful when flying out of domestics airports. When flying back to the US You have Global Entry, which is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival.

These services come with a fee, although you can often get them for free with a premium credit card. CLEAR costs $189 per year and Global Entry (which includes TSA PreCheck) costs $100 to apply, and the membership lasts for five years.

Global Entry requires an interview, which is the hard part. That’s because of backlogs that could mean months of waiting until you’re actually approved. But if you are abroad traveling soon, or just don’t want to pay for Global Entry, there’s another option. And it’s completely free.

Mobile Passport Control

Mobile Passport Control or MPC, allows eligible travelers to submit their passport and customs declaration information through a free app on their smartphone or other mobile device.

The use of MPC streamlines the traveler’s entry process into the United States by reducing passport control inspection time and overall wait time.

Travelers who successfully use an authorized MPC app will no longer have to complete a paper form or use an APC kiosk. As a result, travelers may experience shorter wait times, less congestion and efficient processing, by going through dedicated lanes. In some cases that could even beat out Global Entry members.

How It Works

Travelers create a profile with their passport information, including the traveler’s name, gender, date of birth, and country of citizenship. Upon landing in the United States, they select their arrival airport or seaport and terminal, take a self-photo, and answer a series of CBP inspection-related questions.

Once the traveler submits their transaction through the app, the traveler will receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code. Travelers then bring their physical passport and mobile device with their digital QR-coded receipt to a CBP officer to finalize their inspection for entry into the United States.

Up to 12 profiles can be created for family members. All authorized MPC apps allow for a single household to submit one MPC transaction, including answers to CBP inspection-related questions.

Availability

The MPC Mobile App, is available to U.S. citizens and Canadian B1/B2 citizens visitors.  MPC is currently available at the following 31 U.S. International airports and 4 seaports of entry.

Airports:
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • William P. Hobby Houston International Airport (HOU)
  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • 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)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • San Juan Airport (SJU)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)

Seaports:

  • Miami Seaport
  • Palm Beach Seaport
  • Port Everglades Seaport
  • San Juan Seaport

DDGhttp://dannydealguru.com
Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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8 COMMENTS

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8 COMMENTS

  1. […] In February 2022, US Customs and Border Protection stopped supporting third-party apps to speed up your entry into the United States. That left the proprietary Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app as the only option if you weren’t a Global Entry member. At the time, the app was getting a terrible 2.5-star rating but it looks like things are improving. In fact, if you’re not able to get an interview for Global Entry due to the lack of appointment times, using the MPC app is the next best option.  […]

  2. I just applied to renew my Global Pass, start to finish, including a zoom interview took 23 hours. They seem to have gotten this right and it is working great. I have never had a Global Pass entry problem, or delay.

  3. One thing that isn’t advertised or mentioned much online is some recent changes to Global Entry. On a recent trip through LAX, the GE kiosks simply use facial recognition, no passport or thumbs required. After the scan, you walk down the lane to a CBP officer with a tablet, says your name, asks if you are declaring anything, and you’re off your merry way.

    As well, if you are conditionally approved for the program, you can also have your final interview at passport control on the spot when you land. Not sure about the details but they had signs all over the place for it.

  4. Came thru Houston, IAH , on June 4th, 2022. Set up the mobile passport. Was not able to use it. Said they don’t use it there anymore. There were no kiosks either. Just show your passport to the officer.

    • I concur. Came through EWR on June 1. Customs officer said MPC is no longer used by EWR staff. Waste of time.

  5. Does nothing at all to help you if you get chosen for a secondary inspection.
    Not available at all airports. Not available for all airlines.
    May not be working at all times.
    Global Entry members will be taken first if using the same exit lane.
    Does not guarantee passage. Anyone eligible can apply including criminals. There is NO background check for MPC.

  6. If you choose MPC and you also have Global Entry… the MPC overrides GE and you can no longer use the GE machine for that trip because you have already been processed.

  7. Is there any way of knowing whether it would be faster than Global Entry, or do you have to just kind of guess upon arrival and hope you choose the faster option?

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