Skip to content

How Mobile Passport actually slowed down our entry into the country

May 04, 2020
4 min read
Global Entry can save you time and energy when you're flying back into the U.S. from abroad.
How Mobile Passport actually slowed down our entry into the country
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Colin, who ended up stuck in line because he tried to use two different expedited security programs at once:

Returning from Sydney (SYD) into Los Angeles (LAX), even though my wife and I have Global Entry, I thought I'd be smart and make a Mobile Passport submission. That way we could hedge our bets and use whichever entry method had the shorter line. After deplaning and arriving at immigration, we came across the Global Entry area first and since there was no line proceeded to the kiosks. But after scanning our passports the kiosks refused to process us. We tried several times and each time it failed. The error message was something like "You are attempting to enter the country too soon after your previous entry." After talking to an agent there it turns out making a Mobile Passport submission and receiving a QR code blocks your Global Entry for several hours.

So we had to leave the Global Entry area and use Mobile Passport instead. Fortunately that area was very close by and also had no lines so we were soon through immigration. But that's not the end of the story. After collecting our luggage from the carousel, we proceeded to customs and tried to use the priority lane for Global Entry users. However, since we didn't have the printout from the Global Entry kiosk we were refused entry. Fortunately I had our Global Entry ID cards with me and after showing these we were allowed through the Global Entry lane to clear customs.

So, the moral of the story is, if you have Global Entry and want to be able to use it, don't make a Mobile Passport submission.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

It's difficult when you think you're getting ahead of the curve only to have it backfire and work against you, but when you break down what happened it makes perfect sense. Global Entry and Mobile Passport, two different forms of expedited customs, help process you back into the country. Your submission, whether it's the paper receipt you get at a Global Entry kiosk or the QR code you get from Mobile Passport, is your ticket back into the U.S. and you can only have one.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

While Global Entry is gaining in popularity as more and more credit cards offer it as a benefit, in my experience the lines are pretty reasonable, though if you're the last one off a jumbo jet landing at LAX during peak rush hour it can get busy. You can still follow Colin's advice and check out which line is shorter, just don't submit your Mobile Passport entry until you've committed to go that route. You can load the app on your phone and enter all of your info, and wait until you're actually in line to hit submit.

Related: Why you can't use Mobile Passport and Global Entry at the same time

If you're new to Global Entry, keep in mind that due to the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has closed enrollment centers for its Trusted Traveler programs until at least June 1. Further, the DHS has suspended Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler program applications for New York state residents. If you're affected by the ban, it's even more important to have Mobile Passport as a way to expedite entry into the U.S.

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. Please email your own travel mistake stories to info@thepointsguy.com, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories; due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

Featured image by Global Entry can save you time and energy when you're flying back into the U.S. from abroad. (Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023