Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mobile Passport Control at Port Everglades... How Did It Work?

As promised for my first-hand review, I used the Mobile Passport Control app on my iPhone in preparation for disembarkation from Holland America Line’s Koningsdam in Port Everglades the other day.

The morning of debarkation, after entering the necessary information in the New Trip section of the app, instead of a “receipt” I got an “access denied” error message. Oops. I tried again and again and still didn’t get a receipt. While waiting to leave the ship, as a back-up I filled out the old standby blue and white paper form for Customs & Border Control. Then, in the terminal I saw another passenger receiving assistance from an agent with his phone so I asked for help with mine. Still, no success. The agent told me there are “about 60 reasons” why it wasn't working for us.

So much for technology. Thankfully, a ballpoint pen worked on the paper form just fine.

As an FYI, if you participate in CBP’s Global Entry program, in order to use that shorter line in the cruise port terminal you must have your card with you.
UPDATE: I heard from the folks at Port Everglades and they know what happened the day we disembarked. Hopefully, I will be able to give it a try in the future.
Photo © Linda Coffman,

1 comment:

Will Belden said...

We used it while debarking from the RCL Harmony of the Seas inaugural sailing. After you put in your and your (in my case) spouse's passports, you then answer (with checkboxes) about 4 or 5 questions.

Now that I've used it once, I understand that once you complete the process, you have a four hour window to "use" that session. It gives you a slider with two scannable codes for the passport system at port. I was a little confused with why I still needed my actual passport, and they scanned the phone and our passports for each of us. I suspect it's more of a quality control check, perhaps, while the system is still in its infancy.

But overall, I think there could've been a little more information given, such as the time window after submitting the app's data and how the process would go in port. But it did work, I never had to turn in the ol' blue and white form. (Which is a little confusing because there are more questions on it than in the app, such as "how much money did you spend", etc.)

I think the program can certainly work. Sounds like you might have run into some systems problem, again, the program is new and as a programmer I can tell you -- new systems always have bugs and hiccups when the public starts to use them!