Applying for a Transit Visa to the USA

The Transit Visa USA, also known as the C1 visa, is required if you’re traveling to the US on an international flight and you plan to make a connecting flight in the US. It can be obtained at the port of entry in the US and allows you to stay up to 5 days in the US before continuing your journey.

Applying for a Transit Visa to the USA

If you’re planning to enter the USA via land or sea, but aren’t staying long enough to be considered a tourist (i.e., three months or less), you’ll need a visa to do so legally. The most common visa used by travelers in this situation is the B1/B2 visa, which allows you to travel between international points of entry on land or sea and stay in the USA for up to one year at a time.

You might be traveling to your final destination but have a few layovers on the way. One of those layovers is within the United States. This means that you will have to transit through the US. To do this, you will need a Transit Visa for the USA.

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A US Transit Visa is a permit to enter the US and stay for a layover. Afterward, when your planned flight or ship leaves for your next destination, you will have to leave the US.

The US government issues C1 visas for the USA for immediate and continuous transit through the country. Immediate and continuous transit means that your itinerary to your final destination includes a layover in the US and you will have to stop there, but have no other privileges.

What is a transit visa?

A transit visa is a type of visa that allows foreign nationals to pass through the United States en route to another country. Transit visas are typically valid for up to 72 hours, and may be issued as either a B-1 or B-2 visa. To qualify for a transit visa, you must have a confirmed onward ticket and meet all other standard visa requirements. The types of transit visas are limited: if you want to extend your stay in the US, then apply for a temporary work visa or student visa instead.

Who Needs A US Transit Visa

If you're planning on traveling through the United States en route to another country, you will need to apply for a transit visa. Transit visas are typically valid for up to 30 days and allow you to make stops in multiple US cities. You'll have to obtain your transit visa before you leave your home country. Transit visas are issued for all travelers except nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), Syria, or Yemen.

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If you're planning on traveling to the United States for business or pleasure, you may need a transit visa. Transit visas are required for anyone who is passing through the United States en route to another country, even if you're just staying in the airport during your layover. You'll also need one if you're visiting for a quick trip and plan to return home before the end of your visa's validity date. You can apply for this type of transit visa from any consulate office outside of the US that has been designated by the US Department of State.

Eligibility Criteria for Transit Visa USA

To be eligible for an applied Transit Visa to the USA, you must fulfill one of the criteria:

  • Be a general non-US citizen on their way to a final destination and only pass through the US.
  • Be a non-US citizen or UN official going to the UN headquarters in New York City.
  • Be a foreign government official transiting through the US to their final destination on a work-related trip.

If you do not belong to one of these categories, you cannot get a C transit visa.

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What Are the Types of Transit Visas for the USA?

Here are the types of visas that you might apply for if you want to transit through the United States:

C1 Visa – General Transit Visa

C1 visa is the transit visa for non-US citizens passing through the US on a layover on their way to their final destination.

C2 Visa – U.N Headquarters Transit Visa

C2 visa is the transit visa for non-US citizens traveling to the United Nations (U.N) Headquarters in New York City or United Nations officials transiting through the US to go to a final destination. Those who have this visa are only allowed to be in the vicinity of the U.N headquarters. They are allowed to leave the U.N headquarters or a location in its vicinity only when they depart the US.

Note: You can apply for the C-2 visa only when a request or petition by the U.N or other foreign missions or organizations has been submitted to the nearest US embassy.

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C3 Visa – Foreign Government Transit Visa

C3 visa is the transit visa for foreign government officials traveling through the US on a layover on their way to their final destination. The purpose of the travel must be for governmental or work-related activities.

US Transit Visa Application

You need to follow these steps to submit a full application for a US transit visa:

  1. File form DS-160.
  2. Pay the US Transit visa application fee.
  3. Schedule your interview.
  4. Submit the required documents for US Transit Visas.
  5. Attend your Transit visa interview.

Pay the US Transit visa application fee

The application fee for the US Transit Visas is $160. You need to pay this amount and save the receipt since you will need it later. There might be other fees depending on your location and the Embassy you are applying from.

However, there are no visa issuance fees for the C-2 visa. This is because reciprocity measures have not been put in place for this type of US transit visa.

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Schedule your interview

The next step is to schedule your interview. Try to schedule your visa interview as soon as possible. US Embassies have a high workload, so it might take them a while to schedule your interview. The earlier it is, the better it is for your travel arrangements. When you schedule your interview, you will get an interview confirmation letter which you need later.

How long can you stay on a transit visa?

If you're planning on traveling to the United States for business or pleasure, you may need to apply for a transit visa. A transit visa allows you to stay in the US for up to 72 hours while in transit to another country. You can enter the U.S. via any airport or seaport that accepts international flights and ships from around the world (including Canada). To qualify for this type of visa, your visit must be brief and non-immigrant. In other words, if you're not coming to work, study or live in America permanently with your family then this is not for you!

US Transit Visa Processing Time

From the time you submit your application, expect to wait for a minimum of 5 working days to receive a response on your visa status. The Embassy will let you know whether you have been granted or denied the USA transit visa. This is only an average time estimate, though, so if it takes longer, do not assume that your visa has been denied.

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Processing times for any US visa depend on the workload that the US Embassy from which you are applying has. If there are more applications, it will take longer. However, since the American Transit Visa is for such a short duration of time, its processing time is faster than for other visas.

Since you only need the C1 visa at the US airport, you can give the information of what airport you will be in and on what date. If you submit a request and it is granted, the US Embassy could send the documents to that airport with the visa, and it will be waiting for you when you transit through the US.

What Are the Restrictions of the C1 Visa?

Since the US transit visa is different from other nonimmigrant visas in the sense that you are not allowed to stay in the US, there are several restrictions on what you can do while in the US. With a USA C1 visa you are not allowed to do the following:

  • Stay in the US more than the designated time.
  • Travel or study in the US.
  • Become employed in the US.
  • Extend the C1 visa.
  • Adjust or change the status of the C1 visa.
  • Apply for a Green Card with a C1 visa.
  • Have dependents with only one transit visa.
  • Dependents cannot travel, work, or study in the US.

Can I Bring My Dependents With a Transit Visa?

There are no dependent visas for the C1 visa. This means that all those transiting to the US, including spouses and children must have a transit visa.

For example, if a foreign government official is transiting through the US with family, the family members must have individual C visas too.

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How do I apply for a transit visa?

If you plan to travel through the United States en route to another country, you will need to apply for a transit visa. A transit visa is also known as a type C1 visa. You can apply for this type of visa at any US embassy or consulate outside of the US. The transit visa applies only if your final destination is outside of the US and not Canada or Mexico, and your stay in the US is shorter than 48 hours. You must show evidence that you are traveling on an international flight departing from an airport within 24 hours after arrival in the US.

What happens if I don't get a transit visa before traveling to the United States?

If you don't have a transit visa and you're traveling to the United States, you may be able to get what's called a transit without visa (TWOV) stamp in your passport. This allows you to transit through the United States for up to 96 hours without a visa. However, not everyone is eligible for this and it's always best to get a transit visa if you can.

What are other travel rules when traveling with a transiting visa?

If you're planning on traveling to the USA with a transit visa, there are a few things you should know. First, your itinerary must include a stop in the US for no more than 8 hours. Second, you must have proof of onward travel - this can be in the form of an airline ticket or confirmed itinerary. Third, you'll need to provide proof of financial solvency - this can be in the form of a bank statement or credit card.

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Final thought

There are many reasons why you might need a transit visa to travel through the United States. Maybe you're in transit to another country, or maybe you're just passing through on your way somewhere else. Whatever the reason, if you need a transit visa, there are some requirements you'll need to meet and some steps you'll need to follow to get one. But don't worry, we're here to help. If you've found this blog post, then chances are that you're wondering about transit visas and what they entail. And thankfully, now that we've told you all about them, it's time to talk about how to apply for one!