How does Mobile Passport Control work?
Ordering from a McDonald’s touchscreen menu is more complicated. First, go to your app store of choice and search for the Mobile Passport Control app. Once you’ve downloaded it, it’ll ask you to complete a profile: name, passport number, gender, country of citizenship, and birthdate. It’s all encrypted, so no security worries there.
Next, it’ll ask you to take a picture to have on file. If you’ve ever taken a selfie, this should be easy. If you’re doing this for your grandparents, maybe snap the picture for them.
Then, once you’ve landed safe and sound in the good old US of A, turn your phone on, open up the app, and select the “New Trip” section. It’ll ask for your arrival airline and port of entry, and if you have any goods or cash to declare. Once you’ve filled that out, the app gives you a QC code to present at immigration.
Sounds like a digital version of that blue form that has everyone on the plane asking to borrow your pen, right? What’s so special? Well, once you get off the plane, that’s where the magic happens.
As the masses file through the airport toward the slow-moving APC kiosk line, you and your mobile phone follow the signs for Mobile Passport Control. If someone tries to direct you elsewhere, tell them you have Mobile Passport, and they’ll point you to the right line.
The line is typically next to where diplomats, celebrities, and other “lines are for peasants” folks go through immigration. If there’s more than three people there, it’s a busy day. Even those smug Global Entry people will probably wait longer. Show your QR code to the immigration officer along with your passport, answer whatever pro forma questions he or she has, and off to baggage claim you go. Didn’t check a bag? You’re home a good 30 to 60 minutes earlier.