Me and a friend will be travelling to the USA, Since we have a short layover in JFK airport, I was wondering if we have to use the non-US passport line, or if we can use the US passport line. (just looking for the shortest line)

I have a US Passport and my friend has a German passport. I also live in Europe right now.

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    Why do you think that you and your friend need to use the same line? – Gagravarr Jun 14 '16 at 12:12
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    I would rather not get seperated from my friend. I have become seperated before in an airport and do not want to lose them. – OmamArmy Jun 14 '16 at 12:14
  • Confused here, did you find your friend again or is he still MIA (Missing In Airport)? – Max Jun 14 '16 at 13:20

US immigration does usually let family members join US citizens in the citizen line. This does not extend to friends. As always, there's a possibility you'll get away with it, but if not, the non-US citizen will be sent to the back of the other line. Source: I'm a UK citizen with US citizen family.

Depending on the terminal you enter, whether your friend has an ESTA and has visited the US before, they may be eligible to use the kiosks that allow quicker immigration now.

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    This answer is 1000% correct. If family member - no problem. If "just a friend", you can get away with it rarely/never. Assume you can't. Note that it's no problem at all for you (dear OP) to go in the "crappy" line with your friend, that's fine. – Fattie Jun 14 '16 at 13:42
  • This is nearly 1 year after but I have a follow up question (didn't feel it was right to ask this as a brand-new question, it may be flagged as duplicate). I'm traveling to the US and then to Europe with my aunt and her husband (they are both us citizens). On our trip back from Europe, can I go in the same line with them? Or should we separate? Only asking since you mentioned that it'd be doable if you are family-related to the us citizen you are traveling with. Thanks. – Oscar Valdez Esquea Jun 1 '17 at 19:22
  • @OscarValdezEsquea Presumably your aunt and husband have a different last name to you? Given they're not immediate family (spouse/parents/children), I'd suggest you'd probably not get away with it. Where are you going to enter the US though as many locations have kiosks now – Berwyn Jun 1 '17 at 21:06
  • @Berwyn My aunt's got "Esquea" in her married name, so I share a last name with her (my 2nd). We'd be entering through BWI or DCA. It's not a big deal for me to go over a different line, I'd just like to spare them having to wait for me for a long period of time, those lines can get LONG! – Oscar Valdez Esquea Jun 2 '17 at 13:36
  • @OscarValdezEsquea I think it's hard to be able to predict your chances. You may get away with it and you might not. However, if you've been to the US before and you enter at a location with kiosks, you should be able to get through reasonably quickly anyway. Many airports are moving people to kiosks and it's speeding things up quite a bit – Berwyn Jun 2 '17 at 20:09

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