The long, exhausting queues at the customs desks of airports may soon be outdated, if the trial of a new app in the United States is successful.
The app allows iPhone and iPad users to skip the queue at passport control and go through customs virtually. Yes, you heard it. Travellers just need to download the app called ‘mobilepassport’, fill in a profile, upload their own picture and answer questions, then submit their information to US Customs and Border Protection for consideration, through the app.
Once the information has been verified and approved, the app displays a QR code, which is valid for four hours and scanned by officials who see the traveller’s passport just before exit.
For now, only Canadian citizens and those in the US are able to use the app being trialed in Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Atlanta’s airport is still the busiest in the world for both passenger numbers and operations, seeing on average 2,500 departures and dealing with 250,000 passengers each day (Heathrow has 1,286 flights and 191,200 passengers on average per day).
An Android version of the app will be out in September 2014 and the app is expected to be rolled out to other airports in the US toward the end of the year. It is unknown whether the app will be extended to cover travellers from other countries.