Mobile Passport Guide: Glide Through U.S. Customs

Traveling abroad can be great. You’ve planned your trip, purchased your flights, booked your stay and are ready for your next adventure. The day arrives, you get on your flight, enjoy your trip and are saddened by the fact that you have to return home. The travel blues set in as you arrive back into the United States as you await the dreaded customs line. In comes Mobile Passport to save the day.

“Oh crap, look at how long that line is….” is what you used to say.

The U.S. Customs line always seems to stretch all the way to your arrival gate doesn’t it? You’re tired from the 8+ hour flight and you’re ready to get home and think about your next trip already.

All of a sudden you see a group of friends, happy to be back from their trip. They skip past you and the other 100+ people in VIP fashion.

You assume they must have some sort of special needs or are going to a different line. Until you realize they just skipped ahead of the line you were in.

“How in the heck did they get to go ahead?!”

Now you can skip the line with them!

They’re Not VIP (They Downloaded Mobile Passport)

When I first traveled abroad to Iceland and then to Spain, I had no idea what a mobile passport was. Thankfully the girl I was dating at the time worked for an airline and gave me all of the inside secrets of traveling (carry hand sanitizer, crews don’t sanitize the inside of planes). One of these nifty little secrets was called Mobile Passport.

What is a Mobile Passport?

Mobile Passport is an app for IOS and Android that allows U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors fast access into most major U.S. airports and cruise ports. Anytime you return back into the United States from out of the country, you simply look for the line for mobile entries and skip ahead.

Which Airports and Cruiseports Accept Mobile Passport?

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
  • Boston (BOS) – Boston Logan International Airport
  • Chicago (ORD) – Chicago O’Hare International Airport
  • Dallas (DFW) – Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
  • Denver (DEN) – Denver International Airport
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
  • Fort Lauderdale (PEV) – Port Everglades Cruise Port
  • Houston (IAH) – George Bush Intercontinental Airport
  • Houston (HOU) – William P. Hobby Airport
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Los Angeles International Airport
  • Miami (MIA) – Miami International Airport
  • Miami (MSE) – Miami Seaport Cruise Port
  • Minneapolis (MSP) – Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport
  • New York City (JFK) – John F. Kenedy International Airport
  • Newark (EWR) – Newark Liberty International Airport
  • Orlando (MCO) – Orlando International Airport
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Philadelphia International Airport
  • Phoenix (PHX) – Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Pittsburgh (PIT) – Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Portland (PDX) – Portland International Airport
  • Raleigh (RDU) – Raleigh Durham International Airport
  • Sacramento (SMF) – Sacramento International Airport
  • San Diego (SAN) – San Diego International Airport
  • San Fransisco (SFO) – San Fransisco International Airport
  • San Jose (SJC) – Mineta San Jose International Airport
  • Seattle (SEA) – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • Tampa (TPA) – Tampa International Airport
  • West Palm Beach (WPB) – Port of Palm Beach Cruise Port

How to Use Mobile Passport (Step-by-Step)

For this tutorial purpose, we’ll be going through steps for airport entry. First things first, download Mobile Passport to your mobile device (IOS or Android). Search “mobile passport” in your devices app store if the link doesn’t work.

mobile passport home page

Select Airplane

customs declaration form

New Declaration

Click the box that says ‘Select Travelers.’

passenger information

Add A Passport

Here you’ll want to enter your passport number, last name, first & middle, date of birth and your sex (gender). Please note: you should enter your information EXACTLY as it is shown on your passport.

Passport information

Take A Selfie

Once you’ve entered your passport information, you will be prompted to take a picture of yourself. Be sure to remove any head wear, be the only person in the picture and keep your eyes open. Take the picture and proceed to the next step.

passport holder photo

Travel Information

At this point you’ll see the selfie you just took in what was once the blank square. Right below that it says ‘Travel Information.’ This is where you select your point of entry. The example below shows LAX – Los Angeles International Airport followed by the Airline I was flying that brought me back into the United States. Go ahead and select your point of entry along with the airline you’re flying with.

travel information
Once you’ve selected your port of entry, click the green button to proceed to the CBP Authorized Questions.

CBP Authorized Questions (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Click the green ‘acknowledge’ button at the bottom and proceed to the questions.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Confirm Passenger Information

Please double check this section. Confirm that you’ve entered all of your personal information EXACTLY as it is shown on your passport. Once you’ve double-checked this over, proceed to the security questions.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Security Questions

Once you’ve answered questions 1 through 5, proceed below and certify that all of the information you’ve entered is truthful and correct. After you’ve done this, click the green ‘submit’ button.

CBP Questions

Entering The United States

If you’re at your port of entry, you can click the ‘YES, I’M AT MY PORT OF ENTRY’ and then click submit. Once you do this you will be given a bar code that acts as your mobile passport. You must complete the U.S. Customs and Border protection entry process within 4-hours. I typically always do this as soon as I land in the United States, as I can now take my phone off of airplane mode and complete this really quick while our plane pulls up to the gate.

United States Port of Entry

Find The MobilePassport Line and Breeze By!

Now that you’ve completed your mobile passport, you can skip the general U.S. Customs line and head to the mobile passport line. If you aren’t sure where it is, you’ll typically see one of the staff members and can ask one of them. Most of the time you’ll see signs that say ‘MobilePass.’

People are going to look at you and wonder how the heck you got to get through U.S. Customs soo fast as if you got some special privilege. Now you know that isn’t the case. Feel free to share this article with anyone you meet on the plane or keep this secret to yourself. Either way, no more waiting in long lines after a long international flight.

Enjoy your travels, live life on purpose and enjoy the new travel hack.

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