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Strategies for passport control at Dulles

Strategies for passport control at Dulles

Old May 18, 19, 7:59 am
  #1  
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Strategies for passport control at Dulles

Wondering if there are any strategies we can use to soften the wait for passport control at Dulles International Airport? We are US citizens returning from Amsterdam on July 4, flying United. When we did a similar trip last year, we were dismayed to see that the kiosks at IAD had been abandoned, but noticed that some passengers (with an app or something!) went gleefully in a much faster line. So we swore we'd get with that program, but from what I am reading now, it sounds like whatever that was is now over. We'll depart on June 12, so I expect there is not enough time now for application processing with Global Entry.
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Old May 18, 19, 8:22 am
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1. Get the app.
2. Apply for GE. It is highly unlikely that you will have it processed before June 12, but at least you will not face the issue the next time.
3. If you do not have checked luggage, you have the choice of the FIS at midfield or International Arrivals. The former will be marked for connecting flights, but you may use it even if your final destination is IAD. You will simply exit the FIS into the C concourse and take the Aerotrain to arrivals and exit the airport just like a domestic partner. If you have checked luggage to IAD you cannot do this as your bags will be delivered to International Arrivals.
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Old May 18, 19, 12:39 pm
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Which app do you mean, Often1? Would that be the so-called Mobile Passport app, which is part of the Mobile Passport Control (MPC) system, described at this Customs & Border Control l(CBC)webpage:
https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citize...ssport-control

This page lists 25 airports/sea entry points where passengers can use MPC. Dulles is not on the list.

There is a July 2016 CBC announcement of Dulles International becoming the 14th airport to offer MPC admissions processing, and CBC published a story in March 2018 affirming: "MPC is available at Baltimore Washington and Washington Dulles International Airports. APC is available at Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington Dulles International Airports."

However, I read in a March 2019 Flyertalk thread that the both the MPC system lines and the APC system with its kiosks are now gone from Dulles: Mobile Passport is gone at Dulles Airport
Unsurprisingly, I found no CBP announcements of terminating MPC or APC at Dulles.

We don't have much to lose by downloading a free app. But I still wonder if MPC will be irrelevant at Dulles (after such a short honeymoon!), and puzzle about what is working at IAD these days (other than GE).
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Old May 18, 19, 4:34 pm
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Dulles does however appear to offer Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival:

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-t...llment-arrival

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-t...tions/virginia

FT thread:

Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival

So if you apply now and get conditional approval you can complete the process and use GE to enter the US upon your return.
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Old May 21, 19, 6:10 pm
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Here's a secret -- when you get on the misnamed mobile lounge, stay near the front. They yell at people to move back, but if you're not one of the last, you can go into a little space behind the driver. You'll meet locals there.

Can save you quite a few placesin line at the arrivals building.
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Old May 27, 19, 6:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Alpha Golf View Post
Here's a secret -- when you get on the misnamed mobile lounge, stay near the front. They yell at people to move back, but if you're not one of the last, you can go into a little space behind the driver. You'll meet locals there.

Can save you quite a few placesin line at the arrivals building.
In addition to Alpha Golf, if you are arriving on a wide-body, try to take the first mobile lounge by walking at a faster pace. If you miss the first mobile lounge, the second mobile lounge would wait for the crew and all mobility passengers so you might earn 10-15 minutes by taking the first moon buggy.

For non-citizens, this is would definitely save a lot of time. For citizens or GE, you would be served before a couple of people.
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Old May 27, 19, 8:43 pm
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Ah, we are sitting in the back of the plane, so I think we are destined for the second mobile lounge no matter what we do. Sigh.

I am still trying to figure out use of the Mobile Passport Control app was dropped at Dulles!!!
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Old May 28, 19, 2:06 pm
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Originally Posted by kaymoz View Post
Wondering if there are any strategies we can use to soften the wait for passport control at Dulles International Airport? We are US citizens returning from Amsterdam on July 4, flying United. When we did a similar trip last year, we were dismayed to see that the kiosks at IAD had been abandoned, but noticed that some passengers (with an app or something!) went gleefully in a much faster line. So we swore we'd get with that program, but from what I am reading now, it sounds like whatever that was is now over. We'll depart on June 12, so I expect there is not enough time now for application processing with Global Entry.
Get the Mobile Passport app and do your stuff on your phone.. I don't know anything about Global Entry, but I trust the other posters here do.

If you hadn't booked your flights yet, I'd have suggested seeing about trying to schedule a better return. For example, when I came back from Tokyo, it was on ANA, which came in mid-morning, and we were the only arrival going through formalities. However, the United flight would have been bunched up with arrivals from Europe and the Middle East. But a cursory search reveals that, yes, KLM would have arrived around mid-afternoon as well.
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Old May 28, 19, 2:58 pm
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I went through Dulles in April, I didn't have to collect my baggage which saved a lot of time. (I was on a connecting flight.) It was a pilot program where some flights were exempt from the customs check with bags. (Other flights coming from Europe at the same time did have passengers picking up bags.) I don't know if they are still doing that.

I used GE so I can't help with getting through immigration.
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Old Jun 8, 19, 9:01 pm
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Originally Posted by kaymoz View Post
Ah, we are sitting in the back of the plane, so I think we are destined for the second mobile lounge no matter what we do. Sigh.

I am still trying to figure out use of the Mobile Passport Control app was dropped at Dulles!!!
Mobile Passport is no more at IAD. Don't worry about getting that set up as it won't be any help for your trip.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 11:53 am
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Originally Posted by manneca View Post
I went through Dulles in April, I didn't have to collect my baggage which saved a lot of time. (I was on a connecting flight.) It was a pilot program where some flights were exempt from the customs check with bags. (Other flights coming from Europe at the same time did have passengers picking up bags.) I don't know if they are still doing that.
As of this past weekend, at the midfield FIS, you have to pick up your bags, then walk a few feet and drop them back off. It looked like there was an area for people who were flagged for inspection to go, otherwise it's nonstop from bag claim to bag drop. The immigraiton officer does the customs check as well; in my case as a GE member the officer collected my GE receipt before baggage claim.

Interesting that this setup is the opposite of the new FIS at SAN, where you claim your bags, then speak to one officer performing both immigration and customs functions.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
3. If you do not have checked luggage, you have the choice of the FIS at midfield or International Arrivals. The former will be marked for connecting flights, but you may use it even if your final destination is IAD. You will simply exit the FIS into the C concourse and take the Aerotrain to arrivals and exit the airport just like a domestic partner. If you have checked luggage to IAD you cannot do this as your bags will be delivered to International Arrivals.
Please note that after finishing Immigration in the FIS facility you go through full TSA security before exiting into the C Concourse. And TSA does not have a separate Pre-Check line there - all US citizens are processed in the same line - and that can add 30 minutes or more at the busiest times.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 5:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Zorak View Post

Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival

So if you apply now and get conditional approval you can complete the process and use GE to enter the US upon your return.
Note that Enrollment on Arrival at Dulles will complete your Global Entry membership, but only AFTER you've completed standard
Passport Control along with all the other arriving passengers. i.e. First head for the regular Passport Control lines. After Passport Control
tell the CBP officer that you want to complete GE Enrollment on Arrival and you will be directed to booth 50.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 5:58 pm
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Just to confirm that MPC (Mobile Passport Control app) and APC (Automated Passport Control kiosks) have been removed from both Dulles Immigration facilities. Facial recognition automation is speeding the processing of all passengers rather dramatically.

Last edited by Annandaler; Jul 13, 19 at 8:30 am
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Old Jul 14, 19, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Annandaler View Post
Facial recognition automation is speeding the processing of all passengers rather dramatically.
No, FRT-based entry is dramatically slowing down people who had been hitherto using MPC at IAD and having considerable time savings from use of MPC at IAD. While FRT-based entry is speeding up processing of people who had been hitherto using APC at IAD, the same isn’t generally true for MPC or GE users at IAD.

If FRT-based entry processing were speeding up things for all passengers, then when will CBP call for the elimination of GE at IAD as a way to speed things up for GE members too (as FRT-based entry was supposed to do for MPC but hasn’t)?

Last edited by GUWonder; Jul 14, 19 at 5:37 pm
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