by Matt Alderton | August 13, 2014

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched a new, first-of-its-kind app that expedites travelers' entry into the United States, it announced this week. Called "Mobile Passport Control" (MPC), the app will allow eligible travelers to submit their passport information and customs declaration form via smartphone or tablet prior to CBP inspection.

"We are strongly committed to the facilitation of travel and tourism to the United States, all while maintaining the highest security standards in the world," Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. "Mobile Passport Control is an important step and one that we think the traveling public will embrace."

Currently, MPC is available only at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and only for Apple devices. However, it's expected to expand to additional airports and Android devices later this year.

"CBP continues to transform the international arrivals experience for travelers by offering new and innovative ways to expedite entry into the United States, while maintaining the highest standards of security" said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. "By offering this app to passengers, we hope to build upon the success we have already experienced with Automated Passport Control, which has resulted in decreases in wait times as much as 25-40 percent, even with continued growth in international arrivals."

MPC is available for use by U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors. It does not require pre-approval, is free-to-use and does not collect any new information on travelers.  As a result, CBP said, travelers who use it will experience shorter wait times, less congestion and faster processing.

"Once again, CBP has taken steps to improve efficiency and reduce hassles while maintaining strict security requirements," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "The agency's Mobile Passport prototype allows eligible arriving passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to submit passport information and customs declaration forms right in the palms of their hands. This new app streamlines CBP resources and creates an expedited entry experience that aligns with today's digital age. Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske and others at CBP earn our praise for this creative offering that will surely be a hit with travelers coming through air ports of entry across America."

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