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Old Oct 3, 11, 1:07 pm   #1
 
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Lining up with Americans at US airport?

Don't know if this is the right place to post this. Feel free to move it if necessary.

I'll be flying into IAD from FRA (never flown into US from international destinations). As a Canadian, am I allowed to line up with the Americans at the border control? I have heard that we are allowed to but I just want to make sure...

Thanks!
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Old Oct 3, 11, 1:16 pm   #2
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In theory, no, unless you have a Green Card. But you could try lining up in the American lines, as the lines for foreigner is very very long.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 1:22 pm   #3
 
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At IAD I've been given both answers when showing a Canadian passport to the person at the start of the queue. Sometimes put into the foreigner line, sometimes into the US line.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 2:18 pm   #4
 
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On what basis can a Canadian go into the American line? Canadians aren't Americans.

I've always queued up in the foreigner line and no one has ever told me that I had an option. Believe me, if I could use the American line I wouldn't avoid transiting in US airports like the plague as I currently do.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 2:22 pm   #5
 
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I have stood in the USA line at EWR, LAX, and SFO with no problem at the US CBP agent. At LAX, I did have to lie to the personnel manning the US residents line up and claim that I was a US resident. However the line up people are not US CBP employees and are contractors either from the airport or specific US airline (e.g. United contractors handle the LAX T7 lineup as the whole US CBP facility is utilized by UA).

I have never had a problem infront of a US CBP officer while being in the USA residents line, holding a Canadian passport.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 2:35 pm   #6
 
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I've done it at JFK/EWR/IAH/LAX/SFO/HNL and probably some others.
Never a problem. It was from FT that I learned that trick.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 2:47 pm   #7
 
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This is where Global Entry can be a time saver. On Star Alliance Megado 3, we flew from FRA-ORD. The US resident line took an hour to clear customs, non-resident line was 4 hrs. With GE, it took about 30 secs once you walked past the thousands of other people waiting in line! And it's FREE if you already have Nexus.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 2:51 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by margarita girl View Post
This is where Global Entry can be a time saver. On Star Alliance Megado 3, we flew from FRA-ORD. The US resident line took an hour to clear customs, non-resident line was 4 hrs. With GE, it took about 30 secs once you walked past the thousands of other people waiting in line! And it's FREE if you already have Nexus.
+1!!

I often fly into SJU and MIA. The line marshals often call for US and Canadian passport holders to queue up in the US Resident lines. Since Global Entry... I have not queued.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 2:52 pm   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by margarita girl View Post
This is where Global Entry can be a time saver. On Star Alliance Megado 3, we flew from FRA-ORD. The US resident line took an hour to clear customs, non-resident line was 4 hrs. With GE, it took about 30 secs once you walked past the thousands of other people waiting in line! And it's FREE if you already have Nexus.
yes GE is a life saver

At LAX, arrived from NZ, behind an Air France A380 - horrors.

IAD at early morning is an absolute zoo, when DXB,KWI,JNB,ACC/LOS,GRU,EZE all arrive within 20 minutes of each other.

United will now compensate their top elites for Global Entry, maybe Aeroplan will do same for SE's ... naaaaaah
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Old Oct 3, 11, 2:56 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heraclitus View Post
On what basis can a Canadian go into the American line? Canadians aren't Americans.

I've always queued up in the foreigner line and no one has ever told me that I had an option. Believe me, if I could use the American line I wouldn't avoid transiting in US airports like the plague as I currently do.
Many times the U.S. line is not much better than the Visitor one. As far as quality is concerned, they both suck.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 3:24 pm   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ailiton View Post
As a Canadian, am I allowed to line up with the Americans at the border control?
No, not technically but in reality I and am sure many others do it often and nothing has ever been said to me after a few dozen times over the past 10+ years.

That won't be the case once my Nexus card finally arrives soon.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 3:51 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heraclitus View Post
On what basis can a Canadian go into the American line? Canadians aren't Americans.

I've always queued up in the foreigner line and no one has ever told me that I had an option. Believe me, if I could use the American line I wouldn't avoid transiting in US airports like the plague as I currently do.
Canadians generally get away with it because the process for checking them is identical to an American. Swipe passport, ask question, make approve/refer decision. Some small visa stuff occasionally, but normally we're as easy as they are. So the agents just really don't care as it doesn't affect their throughput.

OTOH, if a visa-required national went into the US line, you can bet they'd be sent back to the other line as the officer has no interest in holding up his booth for 15 minutes.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 5:13 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by EXLEFTSEAT View Post
Many times the U.S. line is not much better than the Visitor one. As far as quality is concerned, they both suck.
+1. The "you suck" goes to both US and Canadian immigration and customs officials. What is it with all those 20-questions?
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Old Oct 3, 11, 5:37 pm   #14
 
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My understanding is that CBP cares about visa validation versus expediTed clearance. The line is US Citizens/Residents and foreigners but Canadians clear US customs without Visas or ESTA unlike everyone else.
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Old Oct 3, 11, 5:39 pm   #15
 
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If you're flying with luggage, is GE that much of an advantage? Don't you have to wait for your bags anyway? Or is it different from Canada in that you get your bags and then go through immigration?
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