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My brother just landed in the USA at Newark and told there were separate queues -- one for those who have entered the USA within the last two years on ESTA and the other for first time visitors. Why is this separation in place?

  • Don't they collect fingerprints on your first visit? Possibly the airport only equipped certain booths with the scanners. I don't recall seeing such a distinction when I landed at DEN a few months back, so possibly it's a particular airport... – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Apr 11 at 1:49
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    Which airport? AFAIK this distinction is being phased out, and I was under the impression that it already had been. – Michael Hampton Apr 11 at 2:50
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    Maybe travel.stackexchange.com/a/115955/1362 ? First-timers have to see an officer to have their identities checked and be fingerprinted; others can have their identities verified with their fingerprints at an automatic kiosk. – Nate Eldredge Apr 11 at 2:50
  • The airport is EWR, edited. – chx Apr 11 at 3:12
  • @MichaelHampton Varies from airport to airport – Crazydre Apr 11 at 5:39
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That would be due to the APC kiosks of course, which, at certain airports, are only available to VWP nationals with a previous entry (i.e. having been fingerprinted and photographed). In addition, depending on the airport, it might be a requirement that a previous entry has been made on the currently held passport.

  • What's the point of fingerprinting if they don't it on every entry... – chx Apr 11 at 6:29
  • @chx They do fingerprint on every entry, the point is that they can't compare you against your last prints if you've never been to the US before. – jpatokal Apr 11 at 6:34
  • @jpatokal I think chx is confused about it because he as a Canadian is exempt from being fingerprinted. BTW, at certain airports first-time VWP visitors can now use the kiosks – Crazydre Apr 11 at 21:50

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