Once a traveler arrives at a destination country and thus has to pass through immigration, does he have to go on a specific immigration spot or can he go at any of them?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Robert Columbia, David Richerby, Glorfindel, bytebuster, Redd Herring Jul 1 at 22:22

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  • I think your question is which immigration queue to use upon arrival at a port. You may want to change your heading to make it clearer – user 56513 Jul 1 at 13:42
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    I don't understand your question. And, in general, rules differ by country. In most cases, there's no single answer that applies everywhere (except, possibly, "Follow the signs"). If you're travelling to a specific country, please add that to your question. – David Richerby Jul 1 at 14:14
  • Yeah, I was meaning that. Sorry, my english is not the most perfect one, so I lack some wording sometimes. – user33954 Jul 1 at 14:31

Completely depends on the country and the traveller's citizenship.

In Europe for example there tends to be a particular EU/EEA+Ch line and an everyone else line.

In ASEAN countries there is a separate line for ASEAN citizens.

Many countries have particular lines for their own citizens.

There is no single rule for the world.

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    +1 The OP should simply follow the rules whenever and wherever he/she arrives. There are almost always attendants on site one can ask for directions. – user 56513 Jul 1 at 13:57
  • And in twenty countries (airports, bus/train stations, seaports), I've never seen two or more lines without both people and signs telling you where to go. And only in English-speaking countries are the signs ever monolingual (usually four or more languages). – WGroleau Jul 1 at 20:50

I can think of three different possibilities for the meaning of "immigration spot" in this question. First, some airports have more than one set of immigration desks and kiosks. This is sometimes called an "immigration hall." For example, passengers going to different terminals for connecting flights may have to use different immigration halls, while passengers going to the baggage claim might have yet another immigration hall.

Usually, there will be only one immigration hall available to you, depending on where you're going. However, in my experience it's sometimes possible to use a different immigration hall than the most direct one. For example, if you're going to another terminal, you could instead go to the baggage claim and use that immigration hall instead of the one for inter-terminal transfers. But you can only do that if you have a good deal of extra time, of course, since you have to clear security once more after being in the baggage claim area.

Second, each immigration hall may have different queues for different passports or different types of visa. For example, in the US, passengers may be directed to different queues depending on whether they are US citizens, US permanent residents, Canadian citizens, temporary visitors, diplomats, NATO military, US military, or members of a trusted traveler program, as well as some other categories I can't think of. In practice many of these categories are directed to the same queues, for example diplomats and military personnel typically share the same queue in New York area airports.

Depending on one's circumstances, it may be possible to choose from more than one of the available queues, but most travelers will have only one option available. A group of travelers in different categories might be able to go together to any of the queues for which the group has at least one eligible member, but the details vary from country to country.

By contrast, Schengen-area airports usually have two options: "EU/EEA/CH passports" and "All passports." Anyone who can use the first queue can also use the second if they want.

Third, you might be asking about how to choose a specific immigration desk or kiosk once you get to the front of the queue. If it's busy, you won't have a choice, because you'll just pick the next one that is available. Sometimes, at the front of the long queue, you can pick any of several short queues, each in front of an individual desk or kiosk, but sometimes there is a security officer or similar worker who will tell you which of the shorter queues to join. On the other hand, if it is not busy, and there are several open desks, you can usually pick whichever one you want.

  • Thank you, I thought that passengers must line up in front of a specific immigration kiosk in order to pass it. – user33954 Jul 1 at 14:33
  • @user33954 in some places it is like that. In others it is not. If there are no unified queues for different categories but certain desks and kiosks are reserved for certain categories then each desk or kiosk will have a sign indicating who may use it. – phoog Jul 1 at 14:40
  • Ok, I do know that there are EU lanes for EU citizens, GCC lanes in GCC countries etc depending on the country, but I personally used to think that a certain person must line up to a certain queue depending on the flight, not on the nationality. I thought that passengers data are transferred electronically to a certain immigration kiosk and hence the travelers of that flight should line up in that lane. – user33954 Jul 1 at 14:52
  • Thanks for the answer, it is clear like the sun. – user33954 Jul 1 at 14:57
  • @user33954 Ah! No, if that were the case there would be some way of telling passengers where they had to go. In those countries where the immigration officer has access to passenger manifest data, they look it up on the computer using the passenger's passport details. Normally this happens automatically when they scan the passport. – phoog Jul 1 at 15:04

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