Fastest Way to Get Through Customs
Nothing kills the adrenaline rush of arriving in a new destination or the relief of returning home after a long trip like enduring endless lines at airport customs. With a few simple planning tips, travelers can expedite their wait time at the airport and get on their way. In this review, let us give you some tips and advice for the fastest way to get through customs.
First and foremost…
1. Be Ready
Always carry a photocopy of your passport and keep it separate from your passport. Some officials will accept the copy or at least give you an easier time if you misplace the original. Turn off your cell phone. Customs and immigration officials are strict with that rule; in fact, they will confiscate your phone and not return it if they catch you using it. The reasons for this are unclear, but can you imagine the sound of 500 people on their cell phones at the same time? What a nightmare.
2. Arrive in the Middle of the Day
Book flights returning between 10 am to 4 pm, when fewer flights arrive, and those that do are not typically full. Early and late arrivals, weekend itineraries and holidays should be avoided as they’re peak travel times.
If you’re traveling as a family, let unruly kids run wild after hours strapped to their seats on the plane. Through frustrated (alligator) tears, make eye contact with the nearest TSA agent. You won’t be the most popular person in line, but the agent’s likely to send you to the front of the queue.
4. Carry-On Only
Skip the delay at baggage carousels for checked suitcases and the lines that build up during this process. Traveling light also saves on luggage charges associated with many no-frills airlines. Check the airline’s website when packing for cabin weight and size allowances.
5. Don’t Make a Scene
If the wait gets long or your bags get a thorough going-over, you definitely won’t make your connecting flight if you are sent to secondary screening. Don’t make wisecracks or jokes to the officials, it makes you look like you are trying to hide something.
And lastly, introducing (in case you are not aware).
The app, launched in 2014 by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) in partnerships with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is free to download and free to use. Entirely separate from the paid Global Entry program, Mobile Passport boasts a speed and ease that has Global Entry user’s eating its dust.
Once the app is on your phone, there’s nothing left to do until your plane lands back on U.S. soil at one of the participating airports. When you turn off “airplane mode,” open the app, complete the steps, and you’ll have your immigration and customs clearance ready before even stepping off the aircraft. The profile includes the traveler’s name, gender, date of birth, and country of citizenship.