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Port of Entry Member Review #16873

Newark Entry Date: 2019-04-16



Review Topic: Port of Entry Review

My Thai fiancée and I arrived in Newark from Hong Kong on April 16th about 1:30pm. Our fiancée visa application had taken 11 months start to finish from Thailand via California processing center.

Even though I am Global Entry, I decided to stay with her through the process. We had to stand in the 'C' line for anyone coming in with a visa. It took 1 full hour to reach the counter (it appeared that the 'C' processing positions were not fully staffed). There, only one question was asked: when are you planning to get married?

They took her packet and passport, and told us we must go to a nearby processing room. They questioned why I should accompany her there, but when I said it was because she spoke limited English, they allowed it.

There, we were directed to sit along with about 50 other people and wait our turn. There were perhaps 6 processing stations, but not fully staffed. The staff seemed pretty laid back, and spent time chatting with each other in between cases. They did not seem to feel in any hurry to get people out of the crowded waiting area.

At one point a half hour in, one guy complained, and a guy in civvies with a badge told him that of course some of us had connecting flights to catch or friends waiting to pick us up, but tough luck, we just had to wait.

A small number of the applicants had to go into smaller offices for further questioning. We did not.

After about 45 minutes, we were called up. Just one question: when are you getting married? Then a smile and good luck.

All the staff were polite and helpful. The problem was that they simply had too few on duty for the number of people to be processed, and did not seem at all concerned that that produced excruciatingly long wait times. It probably is a tedious job, and they were just doing what they have been told they must do.

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