Nowadays, one of the fastest and most convenient ways to avoid airport queues in the USA is to get the Mobile Passport app, which provides citizens of Canada and the US with a simplified alternative to the traditional security screening before boarding a flight, whether it is a commercial or a private one. All that travellers who have downloaded the Mobile Passport app must do is submitting their Canadian or US passport details and declaration information (just like they would do when filling in the paper form handed by cabin crew on board) to Customs and Border Protection online to be authorised and admitted into the fast lane area.
The download from the App Store or Google Play is free, although you can get additional features like an automated document scanner and the possibility to save passport profiles for quicker processes by downloading the Mobile Passport Plus version, which costs 14.99USD per year. Since you will need to send your info each and every time you travel, this option seems interesting for frequent flyers.
How does the Mobile Passport app work?
Whenever you start your submission before a trip, take into account two mandatory conditions: you must be able to connect your device to a WiFi network and it should be done no earlier than four hours before the time you plan to go through security, as this is the interval during which your admission will remain active.
First and foremost, you will need to complete your profile with all the information in your passport required by the app; this will be encrypted and only visible to Customs Border Protection. Secondly, you will be asked to give some details about your destination and travel purpose to get a receipt with a personal encrypted barcode. That will be your key to the dedicated Mobile Passport fast lane to security at the airport after a CBP officer scans it.
Where can I use the Mobile Passport app?
For the time being, Mobile Passport is operational at major airports across the United States such as Chicago O’hare, Denver International, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Philadelphia, Boston Logan, Washington Dulles, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle, among others. We recommend that you confirm whether or not you can use it at your origin airport before you fly.
Skipping airport security lines with CLEAR
CLEAR program memberships are available to travellers who are 18 year old or older and are in possession of a US Passport or Driver’s License, are permanent residents or own a State Issued ID, among other exceptions. Your offspring who are under 18 can use the CLEAR lanes with you when you travel as a family without the need to join.
How does CLEAR work?
The CLEAR program relies on biometrics (your fingerprints and irises) to confirm your identity and approve your admission to the fast security lanes as a non-risk traveller. When your fingerprints and eyes are scanned, your biometrics are translated into an encryption that will only match your features, in such a way that you could never be mistaken for anybody else, and nobody could ever be mistaken for you. Every time you fly, your biometrics will be checked against the records in a matter of seconds, and then you are ready to go.
In order to become an approved member of CLEAR, visit your nearest enrolment location or speed up your registration by submitting some of the information required online. The annual fee is 179 USD.
Which airports in the US have CLEAR lanes?
Most airports in the United States have integrated the CLEAR program in their security procedures; if your airport does not have a specifically designated CLEAR lane, check whether you are allowed to use the Global Entry/ TSA Precheck lanes as is the case with some locations.
Will you fly to the United States from abroad and you are not a US citizen? Then you might want to take a look at our advice for visitors under the Visa Waiver Program.