We are in the midst of an international travel boom this summer. And that means one thing is certain: much longer lines at airport customs and immigration on both ends of your trip. Are you prepared? Have you built the possibility of immigration delays into your schedule?
By now, every frequent international traveler should have Global Entry which helps speed you through immigration via a kiosk instead of an agent. It’s cheap ($100), many high end credit cards will reimburse that fee, it includes PreCheck and it’s good for five years. And it’s now easier than ever to get your Global Entry appointment, too. So what are you waiting for?
Still, some of you may not get Global Entry in time for your international trip this summer. In that case, take advantage of Mobile Passport, a handy smartphone app to speed up Customs and Border Protection processing. The app is FREE, available from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, and is almost as good as Global Entry. Currently, it is only available to U.S. and Canadian passport holders. Download the app before you take off on your trip!
Despite all that preparation, you can still run into hassles at immigration. Sometimes the kiosks go on the fritz. Many times there are staffing issues. And the sheer volume of travelers is bound to slow things down during peak summer season.
If you are worried about the possibility of immigration delays, you can try to avoid arriving at peak times. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tracks wait times and posts the data on this website.
Keep in mind that immigration lines are subject to irregular/off schedule airline operations, and it’s always possible that four or five jumbos could unload at the same time.