Canadians heading across the border can take advantage of a new option that allows them to submit their information digitally in advance of travel.
Locals who plan to travel to the U.S. from Canada can submit their passport and customs declaration information through a free, secure app on their smartphone before they leave for a trip.
The U.S. Customer Customs Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app allows travellers to experience "shorter wait times, less congestion, and efficient processing," when crossing the border.
Canadian and U.S. travellers may use the app at 44 sites, including 32 international U.S. airports, eight Canadian Preclearance locations, and four seaports of entry.
The service applies to travellers departing from Vancouver International Airport (YVR), which is considered one of the Canadian Preclearance locations.
What travellers need to know about using the MPC app for Vancouver flights
Travellers can download the MPC apple for free from the Apple App store and Google Play prior to departure. They will be prompted to fill out their profile with their travel and personal information, including their passport information, name, gender, date of birth, and country of citizenship.
Upon arrival to a preclearance location, such as YVR, you will take a "selfie" and answer a series of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection-related questions.
After submitting the information and photo into the app, you'll get an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code. Bring this code on your smartphone with your passport to a CBP officer to finalize your inspection for entry into the United States.
The CBP notes that "Cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity is required to send information and receive a receipt, but travellers may complete profile(s) without being connected."
What are some benefits of using the app in advance?
- Since you perform the administrative tasks prior to the passport control inspection, you will spend less overall time waiting.
- You will be directed to a specific processing lane for a streamlined entry process.
- You won't have to fill out a declaration form since you submit this electronically in advance
- Up to 12 profiles can be created for family members and submitted all together in a single application.
Travellers from YVR can also "skip the line" on their U.S. flight by reserving a time slot via the new YVR Express program. You may reserve a spot up to 72 hours in advance.
What Canadians need to know about U.S. travel restrictions
In most circumstances, Canadian citizens do not require visitor, business, transit, or other visas to enter the U.S. However, Canadian B1/B2 citizens visitors may still use the MPC app. Visitor visas are defined as "nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2)."
Travellers who have flights diverted to another U.S. airport cannot use the MPC app if the airport that they land in is not one of the approved sites. Have a look at all of the approved airports with the program online.
Find out more tips on how to enjoy a smooth experience flying out of YVR over spring break with our comprehensive guide.