Don’t have Global Entry- No Worries Mon, We Have You Covered

by- Elizabeth Schaaf

No one likes to come back from vacation, only find themselves in a long line to clear US customs. It’s even more stressful when you have a connecting flight, and you’ve got a few hundred people in front of you.

Every international traveler needs to download the Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app from the US Customs and Border Control (CBP). It’s free to download, free to use, and it’s like having a fastpass for the customs line. You can use it for air or cruise arrivals, although it’s not quite accepted everywhere. As of March 2024, this program is available in 33 US airports, nine pre-clearance locations (where you clear customs outside of the US at airports such as Toronto Pearson and Montreal Trudeau), and four cruise ports.

Ready to take advantage? Before your next international trip, download the MPC app, and go ahead and put in your personal details. The app allows you to add up to twelve family members who live in the same household. Super convenient!

When you’re ready to re-enter the United States, spend that time before your flight to get into the app and start the online form. You’ll need to enter your flight information and select who is traveling. You will eventually reach a screen that asks if you have already arrived at the airport where you will clear customs. At this point, stop until your flight lands. Upon landing, proceed through the next easy steps until you reach the screen that says ‘MPC Receipt.’

Not all airports and ports use the same procedures. Some airports, such as Charlotte, has a dedicated line just for MPC users that allows you to completely bypass the standard line and go almost straight to a customs officer. Other places have MPC users merge a bit further back in line. 

I utilized this fantastic app upon returning to Charlotte after an international flight. My traveling companion had Global Entry, which allowed her to walk up a kiosk, undergo a facial scan, and proceed on through. I had already completed my MPC app and had my receipt on my phone. I simply showed it to the agent at the front of the line, and he let me in. There was not another single person in the MPC line. I went straight to the front of the customs line, was the next one given a lane, and waited mere seconds for my officer interview. I was quickly on my way! The difference between my MPC experience and my companion’s Global Entry experience was mere minutes. Using the MPC honestly saved me nearly 45 minutes of standing in line.

The MPC app is a must have for any international traveler! Use this free app to your travel advantage!

(the attachments are not in order. should be: app store, instructions, home page, receipt)

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