The secret to avoiding long customs lines at the airport

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Coming into the country from overseas can be frustrating. After a long flight, most travelers have to stand in a long, slow moving line. However: there is a way around it.

Most travelers stand in painfully slow lines. New kiosks are speeding things up a bit, but you still end up in a long line, moving slowly.

Global Entry members go through another line to a different kiosk, scan their passports and finger prints then go through a checkpoint... often with minimal conversations and all within minutes. Global Entry has its own pain points, though. You must, in advance, fill out forms, be interviewed by a government agent and pay $100 for a five-year membership.

Rocco Melchione travels on business and considers it a great deal. He was coming in from Japan when he and 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney spoke.

"It is very easy, fast efficient," he told Michael. "And I got it for the whole family."

Michael asks: "Really?" Melchione answers, "Yes, it is worth the money."

There is, however a little known third option. With it, you can swiftly clear Customs and Border Protection.

Frank Falcon is with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"We also do have a program called Mobile Passport Control," he tells 7 On Your Side. "There is an app that you download to your phone."

The app is called Mobile Passport, and it allows you to skip the long line by following a specially-marked Mobile Passport line set aside by Customs and Border Control.

The app is available in iOS and Android.

The app is free, and simply asks for the same information you provide when filling out those paper Customs and Border declaration forms. But by going through the app, you avoid that long 'welcome home' line.

According to Falcon: "Fill out your information in advance and when you arrive you basically tell the app, 'I have arrived.' You go to a kiosk at one of the booths and they scan your application and all your information is processed quickly."

The app is run by a private company but it is the only one authorized by Customs and Border Protection for passport and declaration form information. The app is free, but there is an upgrade that sells for $15 a year. San Francisco and San Jose airports both accept the app.



Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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