Are you considering Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry? Then let me break it down to you based on personal experience. Traveling is easier than ever with both programs, but to figure out which one is right for you, I will explain what they are, their application process, differences and more. My goal is to make your decision as simple and easy as possible!
I will never forget when we heard about Global Entry two years ago. Adam and I quickly hopped on the bandwagon of the new cool and efficient way to travel. We obtained our Global Entry for FREE through our Chase Reserve credit card. Ever since we received our Global Entry, we have successfully used it countless times from our international trips such as Ireland, Bermuda, and Peru. We continue to rave about Global Entry to our family and friends convincing them it is the best way to travel back into the United States. However, there is a new player in the terminal – Mobile Passport. Surprisingly, it was launched in 2014, but only recently has it really hit the market “flying”. So let’s break down Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry so you can see for yourself the new way to travel!
What is Mobile Passport?
Mobile Passport Control (MPC) is a new program to expedite the entry process into the United States for U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors. Moreover, to be in the MPC program you must have a Mobile Passport which is the first app authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. All it takes is an eligible traveler with a smartphone or tablet to download the Mobile Passport app from either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. I am sure you have the same question as we did, is it safe and secure? Yes. When you submit your information on the Mobile Passport app everything goes directly to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection via secure encryption protocols. Furthermore, you will always create a pin code before viewing your Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code in case your mobile device gets in the wrong hands.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows eligible low-risk travelers the opportunity for a pre-approved, expedited clearance when arriving into the United States and is good for 5 years. So instead of waiting in long lines at U.S. border protection and customs, Global Entry travelers can enter a line with designated kiosks and obtain clearance within minutes. As a bonus, you also receive TSA PreCheck for both domestic and international flights. Furthermore, Global Entry is not only for flying. It also includes expedited entrance into the United States when driving and/or walking from Canada and Mexico.
To receive Global Entry, you must be pre-approved by undergoing a rigorous background check through your application online followed by an in-person interview. Please make note that the application process of Global Entry can take anywhere between 1-4 months. So if you have an upcoming trip, do not prolong your Global Entry application.
Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry – Who is Eligible?
One of the main aspects of Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry is the participating airports and eligible travelers.
Mobile Passport is only eligible to U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors. Furthermore, since this is the new way of travel, not all of the airports are participating yet, just the main airports with the daily international flight arrivals. The 26 U.S. international airports and 3 seaports of entry so far are ATL, BWI, BOS, ORD, DFW, DEN, FLL, IAD, IAH, HOU, LAX, MIA, Miami Seaport, MSP, JFK, EWR, MCO, Palm Beach Seaport (PBI), PHX, PIT, Port Everglades (PEV), PDX, RDU, SMF, SAN, SFO, SJC, SEA and TPA. (March 2019 last post entry, but an updated list can always be found here.)
Global Entry is only eligible to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Mexican nationals, and citizens of Argentina, Colombia, Germany, India, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Since Global Entry has been around for a few years now, there are a lot more airports with kiosks and you can find that list here.
Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry – How to Apply
Mobile Passport Application Process
Applying for Mobile Passport Control via the Mobile Passport app is very easy. You simply download the app onto your smartphone or tablet device and follow the steps as directed. You can either scan your passport or enter it manually. Then you take a photo of yourself to be used every time and that is it – you are finished and ready to use Mobile Passport!
Global Entry Application Process
To apply for Global Entry you must create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account and follow the application process. A few things the application will ask you to include are: citizenship information, driver’s license, address, employment and travel history for the past five years, and more. It is important to take your time and correctly answer every question. As two people who move, change jobs and travel often, the application would recognize when we accidentally missed a few dates. Once you complete your application, you must pay a non-refundable fee of $100. Then U.S. Customs and Border Control will review your application, which can take up to four weeks. If your application is approved, you will begin the next step which is scheduling an in-person interview at an authorized enrollment center.
Global Entry In-Person Interview
The interview process is very simple. An agent of U.S. Customs and Border Control verifies your identity with a few questions, scans your fingerprints, takes your picture and viola – finished. The only “difficult” part of this final process is finding an authorized enrollment center with an opening slot within a month. I emphasize this because it can sometimes take several months to schedule an interview depending on the enrollment center. At the end of the interview, you will receive your Global Entry membership number to use at participating airports, which you can use right away for TSA PreCheck and international flights. It takes two weeks to receive your Global Entry card with your information and picture. This card is mostly used to show when you are crossing the Canadian and Mexican borders because the Global Entry kiosks at airports recognize the membership on the passport.
How to Use Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry
To use Mobile Passport, open the app when you land into the United States and start your entry process. First, you will choose your way of entering the U.S. by either airplane or cruise ship. Then you will enter your traveler, airport, and airline information followed by a series of general questions typically found on a U.S. Customs and Border Control immigration form. Once you complete and confirm all of your information, you will be prompted to submit your form and will receive a personal Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code. You MUST go through immigration via the Mobile Passport Control line within 4 hours of your submission. Just follow the signs to Mobile Passport Control – remember this is only available at approved airports. When you approach the agent just show them and/or scan your QR code and show your passport. Then you are good to go, welcome home!
Again, Mobile Passport is NEW – not just to travelers but also agents. We have heard stories from a relative trying to use Mobile Passport and the agent looked at her funny. Luckily another agent was up to date on Mobile Passport and let her through. So if you come across a similar situation, just make sure you kindly ask for help from another agent.
For Global Entry members, when you are arriving at U.S. Customs and Border Control, enter the Global Entry line and use the designated kiosk accordingly. You will scan your passport or U.S. permanent resident card and your fingerprints on the scanner for verification. Then you will complete a customs declaration and take a quick picture. Once completed, the Global Entry kiosk will issue a transaction receipt. Once it is your turn, approach the agent at the immigration security checkpoint, show your passport, and deliver the receipt. Viola, welcome home!
The Difference Between Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry
Here are a few bulleted point differences when considering Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry:
Our Personal Thoughts on Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry
Wow, there really is a new player in the world of travel and it is quite amazing! During our recent international travels, we have found that Global Entry is still new to others because we have zipped through the U.S. Customs and Border Control while watching hundreds of people wait in line for hours. However, recently more and more people are receiving Global Entry. Therefore, just like TSA lines, Global Entry lines are starting to get longer every month. This is why Mobile Passport is truly the new way to go!
For now, Mobile Passport is the quickest way to get through U.S. Customs and Border Control, but it might not last for long. We think as word spreads (hopefully with the help of this post), Mobile Passport will surpass Global Entry within a year because it is FREE, convenient, efficient and safe. So with that said, we predict it will not hurt to have both in the future because both lines will start getting more full. Then it will be like playing the “grocery store line” game of which one will be faster. In addition, there are still some great benefits for having a Global Entry that the Mobile Passport does not support such as TSA PreCheck.
So, Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry, which one is right for you?