Global Entry Without the Application Process?
Kinda. US Customs and Border protection recently rolled out Passport Express Kiosks in several major airports. As a Global Entry person I’ve been interested, but not interested enough to stand in line to test it out. But when traveling internationally with my dad this week I finally got a chance to try out the experience at Dulles.
How Does Automated Passport Control work?
Pretty much like Global Entry.
- You don’t have to fill out the blue US Customs form, just choose the line for Passport Express and head for a free Kiosk, indicated by a green light.
- You scan your passport
- Let the camera take your headshot (make sure you’re looking at the camera and not the screen or there’s a chance you’ll get flagged for more screening — more on that later)
- Answer all the questions about traveling to certain countries in Africa, exposure to farm animals, more than $10,000 in cash, etc.
- Submit and grab your “receipt” with your picture on it.
- If you’re traveling with family members, you can add them one at a time after you do your own.
After you do that, you’ll get in line and hand your passport and receipt to an agent. Because my dad’s receipt had an X on it, we both had to wait in a longer line to talk to an agent. I don’t know exactly what causes the X, but the one time I got an X in Global Entry it was because one of my finger prints was slightly off the screen. Without the X people were sailing through in minutes.
From there you go through customs as usual.
Verdict: Being in the other line slowed us down a bit, but getting through Dulles immigration in 40 minutes late afternoon seemed pretty good. For frequent travelers Global Entry is still the better option, but for the casual traveler, the APC kiosks are the next best thing!
Mobile Passport Control App
They also have a Mobile Passport Control app but I wasn’t going to put my tech resistant dad through that after a long flight. But according to the CBP website, once you’ve downloaded the free app you can basically duplicate the kiosk experience and skip those lines.
There are five easy steps to MPC:
- Download the Mobile Passport Control App from the App Store prior to arriving
- Create a profile with your passport information
- Complete the “New Trip” section upon arrival in the United States
- Submit your customs declaration form through the app to receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code. This receipt will expire four hours after being issued
- Bring your passport and smartphone or tablet with your digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer
Who is Eligible for Automated Passport Control?
US and Canadian citizens are eligible to use Passport Express as well as other travelers who meet this criteria:
- Entered the US at least once since 2008
- Citizen from one of the US visa waiver countries
- ESTA travel authorization
Which Airports Have Automated Passport Control?
According to the CBP website, Passport Express is currently available in many of the major US airports and even Abu Dhabi and Dublin.
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