How to Avoid Long Customs and Immigration Lines on Your Next Trip
The most painful part of traveling often starts when you arrive at the airport. If you’re traveling internationally, the experience is even more of a hassle: Every second spent standing in line for customs and immigration is time you’re not spending getting over your jet lag in bed. But reentering the U.S. from a foreign country doesn’t have to be a source of dread: As Condé Nast Traveler reports, a mobile passport makes the process quick and virtually pain-free.
Testing out the tool for yourself is easy. First, download the Mobile Passport app for Android or iOS, and then update your profile with information like your passport number, photo, and expiration date. Now when you land in the U.S. after a trip abroad, you can review customs questions on your phone while waiting to exit the plane.
Once you’ve submitted your answers to questions like “Are you bringing back fruits and vegetables?” and “Are you carrying more than $10,000?” you can head to the customs and immigration booths at the arrivals hall like you normally would, only this time you can hop in the Mobile Passport lane. Instead of filling out a long form, all you have to do is show the official your passport and the QR code receipt on your phone to proceed. The entire process may take as little as a minute to complete.
Another option for impatient travelers looking to breeze through customs and immigration is Global Entry. But while this program has become fairly popular in recent years, Mobile Passport is still a well-kept secret known only to the savviest world travelers, making the lines especially short. On top of all that, the app is free to download.
One major drawback to the app is that it’s only accepted at 24 U.S. airports so far. Check to see if your arrival city is on the list before downloading it for your next getaway.
[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]