The first overwhelming thought that comes to mind when it comes to obtaining a US visa is, ‘There are so many different types of US visas! Which one is best for my visit?’ Yes, there are many components, but if your visit is just a brief stopover in the United States, you will need a US transit visa. A non-immigrant visa issued by the United States government that allows foreign nationals to enter the country and travel through it to their final destination is known as a US transit visa. It does not grant you the right to work in the United States or to stay in the country for an extended period of time. For your convenience, we have provided additional information about this visa type.

What is a US transit visa?

A US transit visa is a type of non-immigrant visa that allows foreign travellers to travel through the United States on their way to another country. The US visa – C type is the US transit visa. It is further classified as C-1, which is the most common visa used by transiting travellers in the United States. C-2 transit visas are available for diplomatic international travellers passing through the United States. A US transit visa is required before entering the US and can be obtained from a US embassy or consulate. The visa holder must have valid travel documents, cannot enter the United States for leisure travel, social visits, or work-related purposes, and must leave the country within the time frame specified.

Who can apply for a US transit visa?

This visa is required for those who are not eligible to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program , or are Canadian or Bermuda citizens, or do not have any other valid US visa. To be eligible for a transit visa, a person must demonstrate that they are only visiting the United States for transit purposes and that they have sufficient financial resources to cover the cost of their stay.

The transit visa’s purpose is to ensure that visitors do not overstay their welcome in the United States. To be eligible, travellers must have a valid passport, a ticket to a foreign country, and their final destination must be outside of the United States. In addition to the transit visa, travellers may need to obtain a separate visa for the country they are visiting.

What is the process to get a US transit visa?

The next question that arises is ‘How to get a US transit visa?’ It follows the same procedure as applying for a tourist visa to the United States.

To apply for a US transit visa, the main requirements are –

  • A valid passport – Your passport must be in print, undamaged, and have more than 6 months of validity after you arrive in the United States in order to apply for a US transit visa.
  • Confirmation of Non-Immigrant US visa application form – This is the Form DS-160 confirmation page – the visa application form you must fill out online correctly and without errors, and upon submission, you will receive a confirmation page, which you must print and bring with you to the US Embassy interview.
  • Visa payment receipt – This payment must be made at the same time as the online visa application form is submitted. Even if your visa is denied, this fee is non-refundable.
  • Photograph – While filling out your DS-160 form, you must upload a photo. The photo should be taken and uploaded in accordance with the US Embassy’s photo specifications. If your photo does not upload with your online application, you must bring a printed passport-size photo to your interview.
  • Travel-related documents – Compile a dossier containing all the paperwork you will need for your travels in the US and other destinations. This should include documents proving that you are only visiting the US for transit purposes, that you do not intend to enter the country for travel or work, that you will exit the country and travel to another country, and that you have sufficient funds to ensure a smooth transit through the US. The documents would primarily consist of your financial statements, booked air tickets, travel plans to the other country, and employment status in your home country.

The application process is simple. All you have to do is:

  • Fill out the DS-160 visa application form online, provide accurate information, upload your photograph, pay the visa fees, and retain the confirmation page in the form of a printout.
  • If applicable, schedule an interview at the US Embassy in your country. All visa applicants aged 14 to 79 must schedule an interview with the embassy. You should bring the appointment confirmation letter with you to the interview.
  • Then you gather all of the necessary documents, including your financial statement and any related additional documents that confirm your purpose of visit, confirmation of exit from the US after transit, and intent to return to your home country.
  • Attend the interview on the scheduled date and provide biometric information. Then you must await the outcome of your visa application.

The US visa transit processing time is the same as a regular US travel visa takes and it varies from country to country. Even if you have provided a complete and error-free US visa application, it will take a couple of weeks to process and give an outcome. Hence it is always preferable to apply for US visa well in advance before your travel dates. Once approved, the visa is ready for you to use for your US transit.

And that’s all! Hope this post gave a head start as to what a US transit visa is and how to go about it!