Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry: What’s Your Choice?
October 31, 2023
3 min. read
The United State’s international airport can be a busy place. When you need to clear customs faster, it may take ages. It’s not how we dream for our journey to end.
Tech-savvy travelers have already learned that there is a specific processing lane and two ways to overcome a long line and time wasting. Let’s compare them: Mobile Passport vs Global Entry and give a rundown of what would be your best choice.
What is a Mobile Passport vs Global Entry?
Some years ago, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection offered two programs to ease the “pain” of travelers. These two programs are not an easy choice. Both programs: the CBP Mobile Passport and Global Entry are designed to help travelers enter the United States after an international trip faster but they work differently.
The CBP Mobile Passport Control vs Global Entry
You can learn more about each program by following the links:
Let’s start with the former. Mobile Passport Control (MPC) vs Global Entry is a smartphone app for an Apple mobile device and various Android devices. It can be easily downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app allows US citizens to enter the US when they travel internationally.
Cost: the MPC mobile app compared to Global Entry is completely free to download and use.
How it works: Follow the simple steps. Before you create an account, you need a portrait photo of about 2×2 inches in size. You might think of a photo studio or photo booth called something like Passport Photos Near Me. However, a good quality selfie will suit the purpose. If you’re in doubt, you can always get a professional photo with a white background and save it on your smartphone. There are a few stores that can help you with that. For example, get a Staples passport photo, it will do the job nicely.
Once you upload a photo, then answer the questions and enter your biographic passport information. Fill in a declaration form if necessary. Submit and get a QR code to show the officer at the dedicated lane.
Family members: Up to 12 family members can be registered through a single account with their data uploaded to the app.
Who’s eligible: U.S. citizens, Canadian visitors, and legal permanent residents.
Worth noting: A mobile passport (despite its name) is not a physical passport substitution.
Renewal period: none
Entry sites: 47 sites, including 33 US international airports. Please check the full list of ports here: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/mobile-passport-control
What is Global Entry vs Mobile Passport?
Global Entry is a slightly different matter. Global Entry is not a free mobile app, but a Trusted Traveler Program offered by the US government that admits low-risk travelers to the country via automatic kiosks, expedited lines, and TSA PreCheck services. Sound great, indeed! No need to fill out any paper form at the airport as well.
Cost: There is a $100 non-refundable application fee for Global Entry
How it works: You need to register a Trusted Traveler Programs account on the Department of Homeland Security website. Apply and have an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. If the officer approves your paperwork, you’ll be eligible for the Global Entry line, and a mobile passport is no longer needed.
Family members: Global entry users can not add their family members to their enrollment. To enroll individually, children and other family members require the Global Entry application and interview process.
Who’s eligible: US citizens, lawful permanent residents, and citizens of 13 other countries, including South Korea, the United Kingdom, Mexico, etc. You can check the full list of countries in here: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/eligibility
Renewal period: every 5 years
Entry sites: Global Entry can be used at 75 certain airports below:
Global Entry kiosks are placed at the following airports:
- Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)*
- Anchorage – Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC)
- Aruba – Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA)*
- Austin – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
- Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
- Bermuda International Airport (BDA)*
- Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS)
- Burlington International Airport (BTV)*
- Calgary International Airport (YYC)
- Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT)
- Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)*
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
- Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
- Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW)
- Denver International Airport (DEN)
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
- Dublin Airport (DUB)*
- Edmonton International Airport (YEG)
- Fairbanks International Airport (FAI)
- Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston (IAH)
- Grand Bahamas International Airport (FPO)*
- Guam International Airport (GUM)
- Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)
- Hartford – Bradley International Airport (BDL)
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
- Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
- Houston – Hobby International Airport (HOU)
- Indianapolis International Airport (IND)*
- John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York (JFK)
- John Wayne Airport (SNA)*
- Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
- Lambert – St. Louis International Airport (STL)
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas (LAS)
- Miami International Airport (MIA)
- Milwaukee – General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
- Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
- Nashville International Airport (BNA)
- Nassau – Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport, Bahamas (NAS)*
- New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
- New York – Stewart International Airport (SWF)*
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- Oakland International Airport (OAK)*
- Ontario International Airport (ONT)*
- Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Orlando-Melbourne International Airport (MLB)*
- Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB)
- Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW)
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
- Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
- Portland International Airport (PDX)
- Providence – T.F. Green International Airport (PVD)
- Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)*
- Sacramento International Airport (SMF)*
- Saipan International Airport (SPN)*
- Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
- San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
- San Diego International Airport (SAN)
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- San Jose International Airport (SJC)*
- San Juan-Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU)
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport-SeaTac (SEA)
- Shannon Airport (SNN)*
- South Bend International Airport (SBN)*
- Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)*
- Tampa International Airport (TPA)
- Toledo Express Airport (TOL)*
- Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
- Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
- Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)
- Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG)
*Enrollment centers are not presented at these locations.
What are the differences between Mobile Passport and Global Entry?
Both programs: the Mobile Passport app vs Global Entry introduced by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are designed to skip the normal customs line. They accelerate clearing through customs and border and speed up the overall process of going through the airport checkpoints.
There are a few differences in their operation. The opportunity to join your family in to the program and the renewal period make a Mobile Passport and Global Entry attractive to travelers in a different way.
What is the best way: Global Entry or Mobile Passport Control line?
If you are a rare traveler who enjoys an overseas trip once in a while, a Mobile Passport (versus Global Entry) is a suitable option for you. It’s even better if you prefer to travel with a big family. The app will give you more freedom to enter the US without additional preparations and application approval.
And it’s absolutely free. No need to schedule an interview appointment and attend it to get a Global Entry with the Global Entry Enrollment Center.
If you are a frequent traveler and a frequent flyer, mostly traveling on your own without children or other family members, Global Entry (vs mobile passport) seems like a good deal for you.
Even though you have to go through some paperwork with an interview and enrollment required, and pay the application fee of $100, you’ll have the privilege of traveling across the world and coming back to the US more easily.
A Global Entry is valid for some long 5 years. Moreover, it enables you to speed up passing through security lines at the start of your trip with TSA PreCheck as well.