CBP launches new mobile app to help travelers expedite entry into United States

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Travelers to the United States will now be able to submit their passport information and customs declaration form through a new smartphone or tablet app as a way to expedite their entry process, the Customs and Border Protection agency said recently.

CBP developed the first such authorized Mobile Passport Control app, partnering with Airside Mobile Inc. and Airports Council International-North America, the agency said in an Aug. 11 press release.

The app, which is being piloted at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport starting Aug. 13, can be downloaded by iPhone and iPad users from Apple's app store.

So far, only U.S. citizens - not lawful permanent residents - and Canadian citizens can use the app, a CBP spokeswoman confirmed through an email. She added that the agency doesn't have an estimated date when the app will be available to visiting foreign nationals.

However, the agency does expect to expand the app to more airports later this year and to Android smartphone users in the future.

When travelers download the app, they'll have to create a profile with their passport information, including name, gender, date of birth, and country of citizenship. After landing in the United States, they'll have to complete the "New Trip" section by selecting their arrival airport, airline flown, providing a photo and answering several custom declaration questions.

After they submit the declaration form through the app, they'll get an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response code - which will expire four hours after issuance. In the meantime, they need to bring their passport and mobile device to a CBP officer to finalize their inspection for U.S. entry.

"By offering this app to passengers, we hope to build upon the success we have already experienced with Automated Passport Control, which has resulted in decreases in wait times as much as 25 to 40 percent, even with continued growth in international arrivals," CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said in the release.

The Automated Passport Control program allows U.S., Canadian and eligible Visa Waiver Program international travelers to use self-service kiosks to submit their customs declaration form and biographic information as a way to expedite their entry into the United States.

For more:
- read the CBP press release about the new smartphone app

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