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What is a U.S. transit visa?

Transit Visas

A U.S. transit visa is a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa that allows you to pass through the U.S. while travelling to another country. This visa will not allow you to stay in the U.S. If you wish to visit the U.S. you should see if you are eligible to apply for a visitor visa.

What are the different types of transit visas?

Transit Visas

C-1 General Transit Visa

You will likely need a C-1 General Transit Visa if:

  • You are travelling to another country and have a brief layover in the U.S. which requires you to enter the country to continue travelling to your final destination.
  • You are a passenger on a ship which makes port in the U.S. on its way to another country.

C-1/D Combination Transit/ Crew Member Visa

If you are a crewmember traveling to the U.S. as a passenger to join a ship or aircraft you will likely need a combination C-1/D visa. These visas are issued to:

  • Pilots and flight attendants on commercial airplanes
  • Captains, engineers and deckhands on sea vessels
  • Lifeguards, cooks, waiters, beauticians or other service staff on cruise ships
  • Trainees on board training vessels

C-2 U.N. Transit Visa

You will need a C-2 Diplomatic Transit Visa if you will be traveling through the U.S. directly to or from the United Nations (U.N.) Headquarters, located in New York City. C-2 visa holders are not allowed to travel beyond the New York City area.

C-3 Diplomatic Visas

C-3 visas are for foreign representatives (like ambassadors, diplomats or consuls) who are passing through the U.S. on their way to another country.

How do I apply for a transit visa?

Step 1: Determine which U.S. transit visa you should apply for.

There are several types of U.S. transit visas as explained above. They include the C-1 visa for general transit, the C-1/D visa for crewmembers, the C-2 visa for UN members, and the C-3 visa for diplomats.

Step 2: Complete and file Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application with the U.S. Department of State.

You will need to upload a passport-style photo with this application. Don't forget to print the application form confirmation page when completed, you will need to bring this to your visa interview.

Step 3: Schedule an interview with a U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live.

If you are under the age of 14 or over the age of 79, you may not be required to have an interview.

Step 4: Collect required documents for your visa interview.

You need to bring the following documents to your visa interview:

  • A passport valid for at least six months past your planned date of departure
  • The confirmation page from Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before the interview

Step 5: Attend the visa interview.

The visa interview will take place at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live. A consular officer will interview you to determine if you are qualified to receive a visa. The officer will review your visa application, supporting documents, and ask questions about your personal history and the reason for your trip to the U.S.

If the consular officer approves your visa, they will take your passport and insert your visa inside. When your passport and visa are ready, you will be notified to pick it up or you can tell the consular office where it should be mailed.

Step 6: Pay the visa issuance fee.

Depending on your nationality, you may have to pay a visa issuance fee if your visa is approved.

Popular Questions About U.S. Transit Visas

Can I extend my stay in the U.S. on a transit visa?

No. Transit visas may not be extended.

Can I study or work in the U.S. if I have a transit visa?

No. If you want to work or study in the U.S., you will have to apply for a work visa or student visa.

3 Retrieved Oct. 11, 2013, http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_4383.html

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Standard U.S. Transit Visas Government & Filing Fees:

  • USCIS Application Filing Fee undefined (Due upon submission of application to USCIS)
    • Filing fee may vary by application reason
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