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... Apr 11 '19 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. Apr 11 '19 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. Apr 11 '19 at 2:50
  • The airport is EWR, edited.
    – chx
    Apr 11 '19 at 3:12
  • @MichaelHampton Varies from airport to airport
    – Crazydre
    Apr 11 '19 at 5:39

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 '19 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. Apr 11 '19 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 '19 at 21:50

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