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When you come home from a long, international trip, the last thing you want to do is wait in airport lines. There's where the Mobile Passport Control app (MPC) can help you out.
The app, which launched in 2014, is the result of a partnership between the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. MPC handles the administrative tasks typically done by customs officers. With those time-consuming tasks out of the way, the app helps reduce passport inspections and overall wait times.
Here’s everything you need to know about the free-to-use app, and how you can use it to make getting through U.S. Customs a breeze.
Who can use the app?
For now, MPC is limited to Canadian and U.S. citizens with valid passports.
But note: The app does not replace your passport, just the administrative tasks and declaration forms that are a part of moving through customs. An agent will still check your passport at the border.
» Learn more: How to get your first passport
How does it work?
MPC is easy to use. First, download MPC from either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. When you launch the app, you'll be asked to create a profile. That profile will contain a slew of private information, but don't worry, MPC is encrypted and your data is shared only with Customs and Border Patrol.
Once your profile is complete, you'll be asked a few questions about your trip, such as which airport you're flying into and what time. When you land in the U.S., launch MPC and submit your trip information. The app sends you an encrypted barcode that is valid for four hours.
From there, you simply follow the signs for MPC at the airport, scan your unique barcode and move through the line.
Is MPC tied to Global Entry or TSA Precheck?
MPC is not connected to Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
Which U.S. airports accept the app?
MPC is currently accepted at 26 U.S. international airports.
If your flight is redirected to an airport that doesn't accept the app, you'll have to follow standard Customs procedures.
Can I add family members?
MPC allows you to create additional profiles for every member of your family, and up to 12 profiles per household.
And sticking with the simplicity theme, the app only requires one transaction per trip, so no need to worry about inputting the same trip info for every person in your family.
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Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: TSA-approved ways to cut the airport screening line Best travel credit cards of 2018 5 family vacation planning tips I learned on the fly