What is Mobile Passport? SKIP the line at customs without Global Entry!

Jun 7, 2023

Picture this: You’ve landed after a long, international flight. You’re exhausted, patience is thin, and you’re eager to get home.

 

You drag yourself off the plane, down the jetway, through the airport, and get to customs. 

The line is LONG. The border patrol officers are CRANKY. And somehow, the people in front of you don’t have their documents ready when it’s finally their turn. Your Global Entry is expired, you don’t want to pay $100 for it, or you haven’t been able to get an interview for it. (Don’t know what Global Entry is? No problem! Global Entry is a “skip the line” pass for customs or border control. You have to pass a federal background check, complete a lengthy application form, and go to an enrollment center for fingerprinting, ID check, and an interview. If approved, the government issues you a “known traveler number” to skip the line). 

Sounds like a hassle, right?

Enter Mobile Passport!

Mobile Passport is the BEST travel hack I’ve found all year! Like Global Entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency runs Mobile Passport. So how is Mobile Passport different from Global Entry?

  • It’s free. 

  • It doesn’t require any lengthy application process. 

  • It doesn’t require an in-person interview or renewal. 

  • It doesn’t require a background check. 

If you’re wondering “Is Mobile Passport worth it?” my opinion is YES! Mobile Passport lines are just as short and easy as Global Entry, and don’t require all the legwork and $. At the date of publishing, there are 46 airports, land borders, and cruise ports with Mobile Passport, versus 75 airports with Global Entry. So what’s the catch? I haven’t found one yet ‍♀️.

I had no idea this existed until this year and I’ve been kicking myself. I can’t explain why so many seasoned travelers have been gatekeeping this awesome app, but I HAD TO SHARE!

Here’s exactly how to get and use Mobile Passport.

Step 1: Download the Mobile Passport App

First things first, grab your smartphone and head to your app store. Search for “Mobile Passport” and download the app with the cute little logo that looks like a passport on your screen. Don’t worry; it won’t demand a secret handshake or retinal scan (yet) to install!

Step 2: Fill in Your Profile

Open the app and set up your profile. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Ugh, filling out forms, seriously?” But fret not, my friend! It’s painless. Enter your basic passport information like your name, date of birth, and passport number. Think of it as a digital autograph book, minus the embarrassing childhood pictures.

Step 3: Snap a Passport Photo

Remember those awful passport photos with your hair looking like a bird’s nest? Well, we’re going to bring back those good times! But fear not, it’s just for your Mobile Passport. Use your phone’s camera to snap a selfie that will be as glamorous as your usual #wanderlust Instagram shots. But maybe skip the duck face this time, okay?

Step 4: Create a Trip

Hooray! It’s time to plan your epic adventure. Tap on the app and select “New Trip.” Enter the details of your upcoming journey, like your departure airport and destination. Don’t worry if you haven’t booked a trip yet; you can still dream of palm trees and sandy beaches while doing this step. We won’t judge!

Step 5: Answer a Few Questions

Now, here comes the quiz part. But don’t worry, there are no wrong answers, only funny ones. The app will ask you some questions about your trip, such as if you’re bringing back any questionable souvenirs or if you’ve been practicing your “I’m not a smuggler” face. It’s all part of the Mobile Passport experience!

Step 6: Send Your Declaration

Almost there, my fellow adventurer! Once you’ve answered all the questions with utmost honesty (seriously, don’t bring anything illegal), review your answers, take a deep breath, and hit that “Submit” button. Your digital declaration is on its way to the customs officers. Fingers crossed they have a sense of humor!

Step 7: Receive Your Receipt

No, no, we’re not talking about the receipt from your last shopping spree. We’re talking about the sweet confirmation receipt from Mobile Passport. You’ll receive a QR code that will make you feel like James Bond himself. Now, hold on tight to that receipt; it’s your golden ticket to bypassing the line.

Step 8: Skip, Skip, Skip to the Front

Congratulations, my friend! You’re now part of an exclusive club of savvy travelers. When you reach the airport, follow the signs for Mobile Passport (usually near the customs area). There you’ll find dedicated lanes with mystical signs that say “Mobile Passport Only.” Bypass the snaking line of exhausted travelers and present your QR code receipt to the customs officer.

Looking for more? Don’t miss the best-of-the-best!

Are you new here? Let’s be friends! I’m Sarah— a solo female traveler (& world’s okayest travel blogger) helping you travel the world, discover surprising destinations, & have a laugh getting off the beaten path. Scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up to stay in touch (I promise not to spam you- just to share the best travel hacks, guides, itineraries, embarrassing stories, and unmissable experiences)!

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  1. Marie G Hain says:

    Thanks for the Mobile Passport tip! My Global Entry expired and I don’t have time to get it renewed before our last minute trip to Europe next month.

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