SFO improves international arrivals experience with mobile technology

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

mobile passport control

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the first authorized mobile app to expedite a traveler’s arrival into the United States, allowing eligible travelers to bypass a traditional queue by submitting their passport information and customs declaration form to CBP via smartphone and/or tablet prior to arrival.

The mobile app is called Mobile Passport Control (MPC). With the expansion of Mobile Passport Control to SFO, travelers now have an efficient new option that allows them to bypass a traditional queue.

MPC is available for U.S. citizens with a valid U.S. passport and Canadian citizens with both a valid Canadian passport and B1 or B2 visa status.  The app provides a more secure and efficient in-person inspection between the CBP officer and the traveler upon arrival in the United States.  Much like Automated Passport Control (APC), the app does not require pre-approval, is free to use and does not collect any new information from travelers.  Travelers opting to use the app will no longer have to complete a paper customs declaration form and will have access to a designated MPC lane to clear customs instead of entering the traditional CBP processing lanes.  As a result, travelers will experience shorter wait times, less congestion and faster processing.

Downloading the app is easy and secure.  Android and iPhone users can download the Mobile Passport Control app for free from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.  From there, profiles may be set up for the passenger and other members of the family.  Carefully review all the responses of the questions about the trip as accuracy of information is subject to penalty under law.  Upon submission, an encrypted CBP receipt with a barcode will appear on the device.  Mobile Passport is highly secure as information is encrypted by state-of-the-art technology to protect all passenger profiles.  With a valid passport and barcode, the passenger is now eligible for the expedited Mobile Passport lane.

In the past 12 months, SFO has welcomed new airline service from China Southern and Turkish Airlines, along with increased flights and expanded capacity from Aer Lingus, Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and SWISS.  SFO will continue to see international traffic growth later this year with the addition of COPA Airlines service to Panama and Qantas service to Sydney, Australia.

In April 2015, SFO unveiled 40 new Automated Passport Control kiosks to expedite the customs entry process for international arriving passengers.  The kiosks allow eligible international travelers to submit their customs declaration form and biographic information electronically, thereby reducing the time they spend with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.



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