Transit visas allow foreigners to enter the United States when their final destination is another country. For example, when they stop at a US airport. These visas are known by the name of "C-1". For example, a typical person from Latin America may want to travel as a tourist to a European country specifically in an airline that makes a small stopover in the United States, because the flight is cheaper.

Another common case is that of a tourist on a cruise whose origin and destination is not the United States but in the course of the trip the ship docks in a US port. If this individual doesn´t have a transit visa, then he or she couldn´t get off the ship. This article answers any questions about who needs the transit visa and who doesn´t. In addition, you´ll also find out how to request it, what are some problems that can lead to the rejection of the application and what the person with the visa can and cannot do once in US territory.

Who doesn´t need to request a transit visa

Foreigners who make a stopover in the United States and who fall into one of the following categories do not require this type of visa:

  • Permanent residents.
  • People with a valid B1 / B2 tourist visa.
  • Foreigners with a passport from a country included in the Visa Waiver Program. They do not need a visa but they do request an online ESTA.

How can I request it and how much do I have to pay?

The C visa is part non-immigrant visa category. The first step you need to go through is to fill out the DS-160 form. It´s also important that you comply with the photo requirements and pay the corresponding fee.

The form of payment to cancel the visa petition rights varies in every consulate. Nonetheless, this should be clearly indicated when you begin to fill out the DS-160 form. When you choose the place where you´re completing the application, and where you´ll go to the interview, the system indicates how to pay.

At the moment the non-refundable cost of applying for a transit visa is $ 160 US dollars. In addition, citizens of some countries must pay a fee that is known as an issuance fee, but only if the visa is approved. Due to its high cost, it´s possible that it´s only convenient if several trips will be made with that visa. In that case, the transit visa should be obtained in a way that allows multiple entries.

The next step it to set up an appointment in the embassy or consulate for the interview. Remember to verify the rules every consulate has, for example, if children and the elderly should go, etc. You must arrive on time to the interview; also bring all the necessary documents and the receipt that demonstrates you paid the visa fee.

At the time of the interview (or before, this depends on the consulate in which the processing is done), the applicant will have to provide their biometrical data, including their fingerprints, which will be incorporated into a record. If the visa is approved, it will include your fingerprints in a digital form so it will always be possible to check whether the person using the visa is the same person who requested it at the consulate.

If several members of a family are traveling and have to stop in the United States, it´s necessary to request a visa for every one of them, even in the case of children or babies included in the passport of one of the parents.

Transit visa rejection

The transit visa could be denied for multiple reasons, which could be classified into two broad categories. One category is inadmissibility, in this case, you can sometimes ask for a pardon. The other category is ineligibility. We highly recommend that you don´t buy plane tickets until you have your visa approved.

What´s the procedure once I´m in the United States with a transit visa?

Once you arrive in the United States and you´re in transit to leave in the next few hours, a series of requirements must be met.

The first is immigration control. In addition, it will be necessary to go through a procedure in which your fingerprints are checked. You´ll also have to go through a customs control. It´s very important to know which items you cannot bring to the United States. Although the person with a C visa is in transit, their bags will go through a customs control and they must meet all the requirements set by American law. You cannot travel with illegal drugs, of course, and also be sure to check the specific amount of alcohol that you can carry.

Also, keep in mind

The application for the transit visa has a price, and as with all American visas, if the application is not approved, the amount you paid is never returned. You must remember this before deciding to request it. The main reason for which the transit visa is requested is that it´s cheaper to travel between two countries by making a stopover in the United States. Nevertheless, remember to do your math real good, since you would have to add up the price of your tickets, plus the amount of the visa fee. This is the only way you´ll really know if it´s is worth your while to request this visa, from a practical point of view. Sometimes people prefer to request a B1/B2 visa that gives them the right to enter the USA as a tourist since it has the same cost a C-1 visa has.

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