US Customs and Border Protection Demonstrates the Value of Mobile Apps for Airports

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the US has announced that its Mobile Passport Control will now be available in five airports across the country, with San Francisco International Airport (SFO) the most recent addition to the initiative.

Mobile Passport Control is the first authorised app that can expedite a traveller’s arrival into the US. Eligible travellers are able to submit their passport information and customs declaration forms to CBP, via their mobile devices, prior to their arrival. The app is available for Android and iPhone users.

"CBP is pleased to offer Mobile Passport Control as an option to expedite travellers’ entry into the US at five of the country’s busiest international airports," said Todd C Owen, Assistant Commissioner for Office of Field Operations, CBP. "CBP remains committed to making the international arrivals experience as traveller-friendly as possible through innovation and collaboration with stakeholders, while maintaining the highest security standards."

"As international traffic grows at SFO, we continue to seek innovative ways to expedite the arrival process for our international travelers," said Airport director John L Martin. "With the expansion of Mobile Passport Control to SFO, our customers now have an efficient new option that allows them to bypass a traditional queue."

Mobile Passport Control currently offers US citizens and Canadian visitors a more secure and efficient in-person inspection between the CBP officer and the traveller upon arrival in the US. Much like Automated Passport Control, the app does not require pre-approval, is free to use and does not collect any new information from travellers. Travellers opting to use the app will no longer have to complete a paper customs declaration form. As a result, users will experience shorter wait times, less congestion and faster processing.

"We're very pleased to have San Francisco International Airport on board as the fifth airport to launch Mobile Passport Control," says Airports Council International-North America president and CEO Kevin M Burke. "Mobile Passport has had a fantastic response at Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, and Chicago, which has significantly cut the time in the customs line for thousands of eligible travellers entering the US. We look forward to additional airports coming online throughout 2015."

Users are presented with a simple process for enabling the Mobile Passport Control app, by downloading from the app store, creating a profile with their passport information, submit their customs declaration form through the app to receive an individual receipt with a QR code, and bring their mobile device with the receipt to a CBP officer upon arrival.

CBP will look to expand use of the app, which was developed by Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) and their technical partner, to the 20 airports with the highest volumes of international travelers by the end of 2016.

This demonstrates how mobile apps can streamline key industry-processes for businesses and customers alike, saving valuable time and improving services through mobility.