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What is Mobile Passport Control (MPC)?

Updated: Nov 09, 2022  | Tags: ESTA Passport, Airport Security

If you have travelled internationally lately, you may have noticed signs for “Mobile Passport” while passing through United States Customs and Border Protection. These queues tend to be shorter than typical passport line queues.

Can you queue in the Mobile Passport line rather than wait in the very long one to have your passport checked? Yes, you can with Mobile Passport Control. It is a good option for travelers returning to the U.S. from other countries. It is an excellent idea even if you are already a member of the Global Entry Program. However, many people have not heard of it or know how to use it.

This guide to Mobile Passport explains all you need to know and will help you get through U.S. Customs and Border Protection as speedily as possible.

What is Mobile Passport Control?

Mobile Passport Control (MPC) permits eligible travellers to submit passport and customs declaration details via a secure, free app on a smartphone or tablet. Using Mobile Passport Control streamlines the entry process into the United States by reducing time at the passport control inspection and waiting time generally. Similar to the APC (Automated Passport Control), MPC is free to use and requires no pre-approval. In addition, travelers who successfully use an authorized MPC app are not required to use an APC kiosk or complete a paper form. So, as a result, wait times should be shorter, processing will be more efficient, and congestion will be reduced.

The Customs and Border Protection Mobile Passport Control App

You can download the U.S. Customs and Border Protection MPC app free of charge from Google Play or the Apple App store. It is currently available for all eligible travelers to use at all MPC-approved locations.

The benefits of using Mobile Passport Control

Mobile passport control or MPC offers Customs and Border Protection and travelers a more efficient way to conduct in-person inspections. The administration is carried out by travelers in advance of inspection at passport control so that waiting times and passport inspection times are reduced.

How does MPC work?

Download the MPC Application from the Apple App store or Google Play Store. The steps below cover ow to setup the app on your mobile device:

  1. Eligible travelers will be directed to create a profile, entering their passport information, including their name, sex, date of birth and country of citizenship.
  2. On landing in the U.S., travelers select the airport or seaport of entry and the terminal and take a self-photo. They then answer CBP inspection questions.
  3. Once the traveler has submitted their transaction via the app, they will be sent an electronic receipt with a Q.R. (Encrypted Quick Response) code.
  4. Travelers then bring their passport and smartphone with their QR-coded receipt to a CBP officer for their inspection for entry into the U.S. to be finalized.
  5. A Wi-Fi or cellular network connection is required to send passport information and to receive a receipt. However, travelers may complete their profiles without being connected.

Does MPC replace the need for an ESTA or visa to enter the United States?

You will still need to obtain a visa or an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) Visa Waiver to enter the United States or transit the country as a visitor. Consult the United States State Department website to find out what you will require.

Where can I use MPC?

The Mobile Passport Control app is available to U.S. citizens and Canadian citizens who are B1/B2 visitors to the U.S. At present, MPC is available at 31 U.S. international airports and four seaports of entry:

  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • William P. Hobby Houston International Airport (HOU)
  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Miami Seaport
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Palm Beach Seaport
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
  • Port Everglades Seaport
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • San Juan Airport (SJU)
  • San Juan Seaport
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)

Do I need MPC if I am a member of Global Entry?

Travelers may use only one automated traveler entry program per entry into the United States. Therefore, if you are a member of the Global Entry Program, you must use either MPC or the Global Entry kiosk, but not both.

Will I still need my passport with MPC?

Yes, travelers must have a valid U.S. or Canadian passport and present it to a CBP officer on their arrival.

Must I still pass through the usual processing lanes if I have the MPC app?

Yes, travelers must still be processed by a Customs and Border Protection officer. However, travelers with MPC will be able to access a dedicated processing lane for a speedier entry process.

Do I still have to complete a declaration form?

No, travelers can now respond electronically to CBP inspection questions via a smartphone or tablet. If a traveler has already filled in a CBP declaration form, it can then be handed in to a Customs and Border Protection Officer.

Is it possible for a family to use MPC?

Yes, you can create a maximum of 12 profiles for family members. All authorized MPC apps allow a household to submit a single MPC transaction, including responses to CBP inspection questions.

Is the MPC app secure?

Yes, the information on your passport and your answers to CBP inspection questions are submitted through secure encryption protocols directly to Customs and Border Protection. The information entered by the applicant on the authorized application form is transmitted securely to CBP, which then responds to the app and generates the electronic receipt that the traveler displays to the CBP officer. In addition, authorized apps offer the option of storing your profile on your tablet or smartphone for future trips or deleting it after the trip. Please note: you will need to update the self-photo taken on the application every year. Customs and Border Protection advises that travelers should review the app’s privacy policy before downloading and using it. Only the information entered after the traveler has acknowledged CBP’s mobile privacy policy (the Disclaimer Statement, the Paperwork Reduction Act Notice and Section 311 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015) is needed to comply with Customs and Border Protection’s MPC commercial requirements.

Can I use MPC if my flight is diverted to a different airport?

If your flight is diverted to another airport in the United States, you will only be able to use MPC if the airport utilizes MPC processing. If MPC processing is not available, travelers must follow the regular processing procedure.