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If I generate a Mobile Passport receipt as I arrive at a US airport but do not subsequently use it for anything (e.g., if I go through Global Entry, or fill out a paper form and use that instead), will that create any confusion or issues with how I'm processed?

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  • There's two parts to using Mobile Passport Control. You fill out the form first, and then you're supposed to submit it when you arrive at the airport. If you fill out the form on your phone and then later use a paper form and proceed as if you never used it, there is no issue (I've had this happen when the form refused to submit; what's the use in having the app when it doesn't work?). I'm not sure if there's any problem if you actually do submit the Mobile Passport form and then don't use it, though I doubt it would be a serious issue. Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 21:12
  • @ZachLipton: Well, yes: the point of the question is to see if that doubt is well founded.
    – orome
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 21:13
  • That's why I didn't post an answer. I just wanted to share that, in my personal experience, there is no problem if you do everything but hit the big submit button or the submission isn't accepted. Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 21:20

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The answer is No.

I did that in December 2016, didn't tell anyone, and everything worked smooth [IAD]

I was again this month (Feb 2017) in that situation [EWR], and this is what happened after I told them:

  • The first Officer (at immigration, Global Entry) claimed that this is not possible. He then send me to a colleague down the line for verification.
  • The second officer explained that it is not possible, then looked it up in his computer (using my passport), and informed his colleague that it is possible, to everyone's surprise. According to his explanation, my Global Entry printout did not contain the custom clearance, but instead referred to the customs clearance I submitted before, with the app.
  • Both officers agreed that I absolutely need to tell this at customs, so they can look at the right sheet (in the app), as my Global Entry printout will not clear me through customs.
  • Luggage delivery got delayed significantly, and I was really late for my connection. I mean really late (21 mins to get to a different concourse and gate).
  • The guy at customs was disinterested, waved me through and turned away. I decided to put more value on catching my connection and just left.
  • Nobody ever came for me, no arrests, preliminary executions, or any such happened (it's been 11 days). It seems they were able to sort it out without my interaction after all.

From what the first two officer said, it is not supposed to happen or work, but it does. It does not give you any advantage - generally Global Entry is the better thing.

I recommend to not use the app when you have Global Entry.

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  • Why did you need to talk to the GE immigration officer? Did the Global Entry machine give you an 'X' receipt?
    – user38879
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 0:14
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    No, I volunteered that I had used the app in addition - trying to find out if I should continue doing this or not. He said no.
    – Aganju
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 0:16
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The information that I'm inferring from https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/mobile-passport-control/mobile-passport-control-frequently-asked-questions seems to imply that the only information that's actually being sent when you use the app is your passport info and your responses to the questions about the items you're bringing in.

Since the administrative tasks are performed by the traveler prior to the passport control inspection, MPC reduces passport control inspection time and overall wait times.

Your identity still needs to be verified by the officer and your permission to enter has to be granted.

Once the traveler submits their customs declaration form through the app, the traveler will receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code. This receipt will expire four hours after being issued. Travelers then bring their passport and mobile device with their digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer to finalize their inspection for entry into the United States.

If you do not use the receipt, it seems that it simply expires after four hours.

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  • Yes I read all that. But the question really can only be answered by someone who knows more. Ideally someone who has either tired it, or who has backed experience. (The issue, in case it's not clear, is the potential for raising an unintended red flag of some sort.)
    – orome
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 20:37

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