A new app could help international travelers skip the line when they land at MSP airport.
It's called Mobile Passport Control, and it is the first and only authorized app designed to expedite a traveler's entry into the United States.
The app is already available in 12 other cities, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the app's launch at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport this week.
Considering the long lines and wait times at MSP and airports around the country as of late, Customs and Border Protection says they hope the app will streamline the process for international travelers.
How does it work?
Border protection says the app is free to download on a smartphone or tablet for Android and iPhone users. The user must create a profile with their name, gender, birthday, and country of citizenship.
Only U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors are considered "eligible travelers" and can use the app – but the agency says they will expand eligibility in the future for Lawful Permanent Residents.
Upon landing in America, travelers enter their arrival airport and airline, take a selfie, and answer some standard custom declaration questions. They get a receipt with a special code that they bring along with their passport to a Customs and Border Protection officer to finalize their inspection.
Basically, the app lets the traveler take care of all the paperwork stuff before they get in line (and app users get a separate line), so that customs officers can focus on confirming the traveler's identity and reason for international travel.
And for travelers who don't have a mobile device, MSP has installed 34 kiosks in the international travel area that do the same thing as the app, but print out a receipt with the code instead of a digital copy.
Does it actually work?
If the reviews on Apple and Android are any indication, it seems like the app is working for most people. The overall rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars for both platforms – one Android user said: "Saves tons of time I almost want to keep it a secret."
Most of the complaints seem to imply that the app is great, but that the border protection agency hasn't completely adjusted to the new technology.
Here's a look at what people are saying on social media: