How to avoid long customs and immigration lines on your next trip

So you’ve just sat on a plane for thirteen hours traveling from Indonesia, what you’ll then have to do is stand in line for another few hours waiting to get through customs and immigration. If only there some sort of guide was available to help you get through quicker…

You’re standing in line, it seems as though time itself has stood still and seconds can feel like hours. Not to mention you’ve got someone behind you huffing and puffing so much you can actually feel their breath on the back of your neck. Don’t even get us started on the crying baby that seems to have followed you from the plane to the customs line.

There’s an app for that

Re-entering the country doesn’t have to be as much of a hassle as you think though. It is possible to download the Mobile Passport app on your cell phone which will get you through customs and immigration in mere minutes instead of the several hours it usually takes. It is relatively unheard of so the lines for getting through are very small at the airport. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you will need to save a bit of your basic personal information on it, such as a photo and your passport number. After you have landed and are being taxied, you can take your phone off airplane mode and access the app. You will have to answer some basic questions just like you would at customs. Once complete and you’ve arrived at the customs kiosks you can head on over to the Mobile Passport lane and show them the QR code you’ll get for completing the questions on the Mobile Passport app. Show them the code and then proceed through and you can leave the misery of standing in the customs and immigration line to everyone else. You can even include your family members traveling with you.

Global Entry

You can enroll in the Global Entry scheme which gains quicker passage through customs and immigration for American citizens. Low-risk travelers qualify, and it allows them to bypass lines when they get to customs and immigration in the U.S. They just have to simply stroll up to a kiosk and enter their pin number, known as a Trusted Traveler number, along with doing a fingerprint scan. The Global Entry scheme doesn’t work for family members though, they will have to become approved individually, so if you’re planning a family trip abroad, you’ll need to get the whole family enrolled or else you’ll have to wait anyway. Global Entry will set you back $100 for five years, which is a good return for your investment if you are a frequent traveler. You’ll just need to head over to the Global Entry website to see whether you qualify and you can begin your application process.

Those were the two tips we think will save you a bunch of time at the airport when you land back in the States. We think it is worth giving them a go as anything beats being stuck in line for hours at a time.