We've sung the praises of Mobile Passport, the free smartphone app that allows you to skip through lines at immigration when returning to the U.S. If you don't want to pony up for Global Entry – or don't have a credit card that covers the $100 application fee – using Mobile Entry was a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, it's no longer free. At least not exactly.
Airline reporter Jason Rabinowitz discovered this morning that a new version of the Mobile Entry app has moved to a “freemium” model. The app is now charging $15 per year to upgrade to be able to store passport information – functions that had long been free.
Ever use the @mobpassport app? Bad news. It shifted to a freemium model. Features such as passport scanning and storage are now premium at $15/year. The free version requires manual passport entry every use.
It now costs nearly as much as Global Entry, which has Precheck #PaxEx pic.twitter.com/SKzVctaXSb
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) April 23, 2019
At $15 per year, that's $75 over the course of a five-year Global Entry Membership. So it's tough to justify shelling out the money for the previously free functions of Mobile Passport – especially considering Global Entry also includes TSA PreCheck to get through security faster.
Of course, you can simply continue using the free version of Mobile Passport and tap in your passport information every time you're re-entering the U.S. Or just avoid updating your Mobile Entry app altogether so you're not faced with the option to upgrade at all.
Mobile Passport is available at more than two dozen airports and counting, along with several U.S. seaports.
- Atlanta (ATL)
- Baltimore-Washington (BWI)
- Boston (BOS)
- Chicago-O’Hare (ORD)
- Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
- Denver (DEN)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
- Houston-Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
- Houston-William P. Hobby (HOU)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Miami (MIA)
- Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP)
- New York City-JFK (JFK)
- Newark (EWR)
- Orlando (MCO)
- Phoenix (PHX)
- Pittsburgh (PIT)
- Portland (PDX)
- Raleigh-Durham (RDU)
- Sacramento (SMF)
- San Diego (SAN)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- San Jose (SJC)
- Seattle (SEA)
- Tampa (TPA)
- Washington-Dulles (IAD)
This is disappointing news. Mobile Passport has been one of the best-kept secrets in travel, an easy way to skip long lines at immigration for free.
Perhaps this is a sign that word is getting out, and the federal government has realized it can make money off this once-free app.