You’ve just arrived at the John F. Kennedy New York International Airport (JFK) after a long flight from Paris. You’re exhausted and ready to get home but have one more flight ahead of you. The length of time that travelers spend in customs lines at JFK exceeds the national average, and when you reach that long line, it shows. You and every other international traveler around you are completely exhausted. You overhear people complaining around you. How will you make your next flight in time?

To help alleviate this problem, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has released the Mobile Passport app. The Mobile Passport app is the only app that the United States government has authorized. The app allows United States and Canadian citizens to fill out passport information online and pre-answer customs border patrol inspection questions. In real time, this means that with the Mobile Passport app a Canadian or American traveler can skip the customs-form line and move straight to the shorter inspection line. According to the information page on the United States CBP website, “the app streamlines the traveler inspection process and enables CBP officers to focus more on the inspection and less on administrative functions.”

Travelers can use the Mobile Passport app in twenty-six airports and three cruise ports around the United States of America. If travelling as part of a family, you can add twelve additional profiles and submit answers just once together as a single household.

Official Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security

Official Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security


How to Use Mobile Passport:

  1. Download the Mobile Passport app in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
  2. Create a profile in the app with passport information. Passport information includes name, gender, birthdate, and country of citizenship. This does not replace your actual passport.
  3. After landing in the United States, complete the “New Trip” option. Then, take a photo of yourself and answer the CBP inspection questions on your smartphone or tablet. Those questions will request information about your arrival airport and airline.
  4. After this submission, an electronic receipt will be sent to your phone. That receipt includes a secure, encrypted QR code.
  5. Proceed with your passport and your electronic receipt to meet with a CBP officer to complete your inspection and enter the United States.
  6. Traveling, especially traveling internationally, can be very stressful. To avoid stress and save time like a pro, download the Mobile Passport app before your next international trip!

—Sarah Polhill