Published on: January 23rd, 2022
By: المستشار ماهر الديري

TRANSIT VISA TO THE USA

TRANSIT VISA TO THE USA

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Transit (C) visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States en route to another country, with few exceptions. Immediate and continuous transit is defined as a reasonably expeditious departure of the traveler in the normal course of travel as the elements permit and assumes a prearranged itinerary without any unreasonable layover privileges. If the traveler seeks layover privileges for purposes other than for transit through the United States, such as to visit friends or engage in sightseeing, the traveler will have to qualify for the type of visa required for that purpose.

Travel purposes which require a Transit (C) Visa – Examples:

  • A foreign citizen traveling to another country who will have a brief layover in the United States when the only reason for entering the United States is to transit.
  • A passenger embarking from a foreign port on a cruise ship or other vessel which is proceeding to another country, other than the United States, but during the course of the journey, the vessel makes port in the United States with no intention of landing in the United States.
  • A crewmember traveling to the United States as a passenger to join a ship or aircraft you will work on, providing services for operation. You will also need a crewmember D visa, most often issued as a combination C-1/D visa. Learn more about Crewmember visas.
  • A foreign citizen proceeding in immediate and continuous transit through the United States to or from the United Nations Headquarters District, under provisions of the Headquarters agreement with the United Nations, requires a diplomatic transit (C-2) visa. Travel within the United States will be limited to the immediate New York City vicinity.

Travel purposes not permitted on a Transit (C) Visa – Examples:

  • A foreign citizen whose layover in the United States is for a primary purpose other than to transit, for example to visit friends or sightsee, requires a visitor (B) visa.
  • A coasting officer seeking to enter the United States generally requires a visitor (B) visa. Coasting officers are employed temporarily when an officer of a foreign ship is granted home leave while the vessel is in U.S. ports, provided the vessel does not remain in U.S. waters for more than 29 days. The coasting officer may then repeat the process with another vessel of the same foreign line.
  • A crewmember on a private yacht sailing out of a foreign port which will be cruising in U.S. waters for more than 29 days is generally required to have a visitor (B) visa.
  • An officer or employee of a designated international organization assigned to the United States may pass in immediate and continuous transit through the United States on an International Organization (G-4) visa.

Application Fee $160

Required Documentation

Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:

  • Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.

Additional Documentation May Be Required

Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence that shows:

  • Your purpose of entry into the United States is to transit while traveling onward to another country and that you intend to depart the United States;
  • Your ability to pay all costs while in the United States; and/or
  • Residence in your home country and your intent to return there.