If you have traveled outside the country recently, you are well aware of the long lines and the time it takes to get through Customs each time you fly. Luckily, there are ways to expedite your travel through border crossings, similar to TSA PreCheck for domestic travel. These are Mobile Passport, Global Entry and CLEAR. Here’s a breakdown how each works.
Mobile Passport. Mobile Passport is an app that allows US (and Canadian) passport holders to submit their passport information and customs declarations to the US Customs and Border Patrol via your smartphone or tablet before you get off the plane. It allows you to go through an expedited lane, by-passing the long lines. The app is free, and initially all you have to do is create a profile consisting of your name, gender, date of birth and country of citizenship. Each time you re-enter the US, you fill out a “New Trip” section, take a selfie and answer some inspection-related questions. Once completed, you’ll get an electronic receipt with a QR code, which you take to a CBP officer, along with your passport, to finalize your re-entry to the US. That’s it. You can download the app through Google Play or the Apple App stores.
Global Entry. Global Entry provides participants expedited entrance at US border crossings for a full five years. Unlike Mobile Passport, Global Entry requires an in-depth background check and in-person interview. Once you “pass” the background check and in-person interview, you get a “Known Traveler Number” and are eligible for expedited security and customs screening and TSA PreCheck when you travel in and out of the US. The cost for the program is $100 and is good for 5 years. Some credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire and American Express Platinum, will provide reimbursement for Global Entry program costs – check with your credit card company for details. To apply for Global Entry you need to visit the Trusted Traveler Program website.
CLEAR. CLEAR is an identity verification service that will help speed you through security checkpoints for domestic flights only. Instead of using your Driver’s License or other ID, CLEAR uses biometrics to identify you – either your fingerprints or iris scans. CLEAR Members have their own security lines, where a CLEAR Ambassador will take care of scanning their fingerprint or iris and comparing it to their boarding pass. They are then escorted to the front of the security screening line. CLEAR does cost $179 per year, and currently has special programs with Delta and United that will reduce that cost for their awards program members. In addition, some credit cards (Chase Sapphire, AMEX Platinum, etc.) offer discounts and/or reimbursements for your CLEAR membership fees – check with your credit card company for eligibility. CLEAR is currently available at 30 airports. In addition, they will shortly introduce the CLEAR Pass app, which is similar to Mobile Passport and will help expedite the process through customs when entering the US.
Need help determining which program is right for you? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’re happy to answer all your questions.
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