If you’re traveling abroad and find that you have a layover in the United States, you may need a U.S. transit visa. Transit visas are also known as C-visas and they allow you to enter the United States and stay as long as your layover requires. When your planned ship or flight departs for your next destination, you will be required to leave.
These visas are for immediate and continuous transit only and you will have no other privileges. If you plan on staying in the United States to engage in business activities or tourism, you will need a B-visa instead. If you already have a B-visa, there is no need to apply for a C-visa as they already allow you to travel within the U.S. Also, if you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA), you will not need a transit visa at all.
Types of Transit Visas
There are three C-visas to choose from when traveling through the United States. The first, C-1, is a general transit visa that allows foreigners to pass through the U.S. on a layover to another destination.
The second, C-2, is for United Nations officials traveling through the U.S. to another destination. It’s also used by foreigners traveling to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. C-2 visa holders are only allowed in the U.N. headquarters area and may only leave its vicinity when they depart the country.
The last, C-3, is a transit visa strictly for foreign government officials (along with their families and servants or employees) who travel through the United States on a layover when traveling to another final destination. They must be traveling for government or work-related activities to qualify for this visa.
If you do not fit into one of these categories, you are not eligible for a C transit visa. Also, C-visas do not have dependent visas. If you are traveling with family members, you must all have individual C visas.
Transit Visa Validity
Transit visas are for people who don’t intend to stay in the U.S. and are instead traveling to another final destination. Because of this, you must provide proof that you have a final destination when applying by submitting travel tickets or a visa for another country.
Because transit is normally a quick process, the validity of a C-visa is for a short period of time. Each type is only valid for a maximum of 29 days or until your departure date, whichever is sooner.
If you are an immigrant seeking travel visas for yourself or your family, contact a Miami Immigration Lawyer at Saleh & Associates to help you complete the application. We’ll make sure you get the details right the first time to prevent delays and increase approvals. Call us today at 305-448-0077.