If you’re like most people, the thought of dealing with customs and immigration at the airport can be stressful — but it is it doesn’t have to be that terrible as is often portrayed. Next time you’re traveling abroad and need to fly back to the US, here’s how to get there more seamlessly through immigration.
What to do before you book
Before you book your flightcConsider schedules and loads. Flying on an empty plane and flying on less busy days or times of the day can save you time at customs and immigration. A tool like ExpertFlyer (to the $99.99 each year for one annual premium subscription, or $4.99 each month for one Basic subscription) can help you look up flight schedules and flight loads (and it offers a number of other tools).
Look for fast track programs
Some airports have fast track programs that you can take advantage of either Access based on status or the class of service you fly. There may be instances where you can pay an access fee for the Fast track service. The best way to find out if these services exist is to google the airport name + fast track immigration.
Sit near the front of the plane (and hectic)
If your flight is full and you land at a busy time of day, plan for thatDon’t go forward and rush after getting off the plane. The more people you have in front of you on the immigration route, the less you have to queue afterwards. Save this trip as the bathroom while waiting for your luggage at baggage claim or after customs control.
These programs allow you to pass through customs and immigration with little to no waiting time. Instead of standing in line to speak to a border guard, you can go to the Global Entry kiosk (even if you have NEXUS). You will confirm some information on the screen, you could Get a printout (depending on the exact type of machine you’re using) and then you can Breeze through customs and immigration. Quite a few credit cards will refund your $100 Global Entry application fee, and there are even some that refund the $50 NEXUS registration fee.
Get the Mobile Passport app (on Android, iOS)
Even if you have Global Entry or NEXUS, you should still download the Mobile Passport App. This app allows you to fill out your customs declaration form on your phone before you even get to the airport. If you don’t have Global Entry, it’s the best choice to get through customs and immigration faster. But it also works with Global Entry gives you another option when Global Entry is on Secured. However, Remember that after completing Mobile Passport, you should use this method to enter the country.