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. Nonetheless, they may wish to do so in an airline that makes a small stopover in the United States, because the flight is cheaper.

Another typical 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 many questions about who needs the transit visa and who doesn´t. Also, you´ll 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 essential 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. Citizens from some countries must pay a fee that is known as an issuance fee, but only if authorities approve it. Due to its high cost, it may be 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.

Next steps

The next step is to set up an appointment in the embassy or consulate for the interview. Remember to verify the rules every government 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, the applicant will have to provide their biometrical data. This includes their fingerprints, which will be incorporated into a record. All this could also happen before the interview, depending on the consulate. If authorities approve your visa request, they will have 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.

Are several members of a family traveling and have to stop in the United States? Then 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 type 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, you must meet a series of requirements. The first is immigration control. Furthermore, you will necessarily go through a procedure in which immigration authorities will check your fingerprints. You´ll also have to go through a customs control. It´s imperative 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. As with all American visas, if the embassy doesn´t approve the application, you won´t get a refund. You must remember this before deciding to request it. Which is the main reason for which people seek the transit visa? Mainly that it´s cheaper to travel between two countries by making a stopover in the United States.


Nevertheless, remember to do your math really 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 apply for a B1/B2 visa that gives them the right to enter the USA as a tourist since it has the same cost a C1 permit has.

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