U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is rolling out a new app called Mobile Passport Control App (MPC), with which flyers can fill out those customs declaration forms necessary for re-entry into the U.S.
This app, authorized by CBP, and developed in partnership with Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America, will hopefully speed up the customs process, reduce wait times, and cut operating costs.
The app won't make the lines any shorter, but hopefully it will help processing go a little faster. According to CBP, "Since the administrative tasks are performed by the traveler prior to the passport control inspection, MPC reduces passport control inspection time and overall wait times." In a nutshell the app will allow U.S. and Canadian citizens to electronically submit customs forms prior to arrival at customs.
After creating a profile and entering some information about your trip, you'll receive an electronic receipt with a QR code. The QR code is then used by the customs officer, and he or she will scan the code and send you through.
If you have been through many of the major airports latley, you may have laready seen CBP's new customs kiosks. The app heralds a more seamless experience for travelers entering the United States. But it might be a while before you can take advantage of the new technology.
The free app is still in an initial testing phase. It's available for iPhone and iPad only (Boo), and CBP says it will introduce a Droid-friendly version soon.
The app currently only works for arrivals at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. More airports should be added in the next few months.
CBP says the app works for "eligible" travelers only; the agency doesn't give any details on who's eligible and who's not.
It doesn't appear that travelers need any kind of pre-approval for the app to work.
Search for "Airside Mobile" to find the program in the App Store. You have to be connected to Wi-Fi or a cell network for the app to work.