What Are Automated Passport Control and Mobile Passport Control?

Automated Passport Control (APC) is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that expedites the entry process by providing an automated process through CBP’s Primary Inspection area.

CBP reports as of Mar. 2017 that it can be used by:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Canadian citizens
  • Eligible Visa Waiver Program international travelers

Travelers use self-service kiosks to respond to CBP inspection related questions and submit biographic information. APC is a free service, does not require pre-registration or membership. CBP says travelers using APC experience shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing.

Instead of filling out a paper Customs declaration form, eligible passengers can proceed directly to the APC kiosks in the passport control area. Travelers are prompted to scan their passport, take a photograph using the kiosk, and answer a series of CBP inspection related questions verifying biographic and flight information. Once passengers have completed the series of questions, a receipt will be issued.  Travelers then bring their passport and receipt to a CBP Officer to finalize their inspection for entry into the United States. The kiosks allow people residing at the same address to be processed together.

For a list of the 40+ airports with APC kiosks, see here.

Mobile Passport Control (MPC) allows persons to use the Mobile Passport app to expedite their entry process into the United States. As of Apr. 2017, CBP says it can be used by:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Canadian visitors

It is the first app authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for eligible travelers with a smartphone or tablet to submit their passport information and answer CBP inspection-related questions prior to CBP inspection. Like APC, the app does not require pre-approval and is free to use. CBP claims the app streamlines the traveler inspection process and enables CBP officers to focus more on the inspection and less on administrative functions.

Eligible travelers can download the Mobile Passport app from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Travelers will be prompted to create a profile via the app with their passport information. The profile includes the traveler’s name, gender, date of birth, and country of citizenship. Upon landing in the United States, travelers will complete the “New Trip” section by selecting their arrival airport and airline, taking a self-photo, and answering a series of CBP inspection-related questions. Once the traveler submits their transaction through the app, the traveler will receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code. Travelers then bring their passport and mobile device with their digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer to finalize their inspection for entry into the United States.

For a list of the 20+ ports of entry where you can use MPC, see here.

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