What do I do if my flight has a layover in the US and I am a citizen of a country that requires a Visa?
Transit (C) visas are nonimmigrant visas for people who are traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States enroute to another country. There are a few exceptions to this visa. If you already have a valid visitor (B) visa, you should be able to use it to transit the United States. If you are a citizen of Visa Waiver Country you should be able to transit without a C Visa as well.
A C Visa is for a foreign citizen traveling to another country who will have a brief layover in the United States when the only reason for entering the United States is to transit.
A C Visa is required and approvable under the following circumstances:
- A passenger embarking from a foreign port on a cruise ship or other vessel which is proceeding to another country, other than the United States, but during the course of the journey, the vessel makes port in the United States with no intention of landing in the United States.
- A crewmember traveling to the United States as a passenger to join a ship or aircraft you will work on, providing services for operation. You will also need a crewmember D visa, most often issued as a combination C-1/D visa. Learn more about Crewmember visas.
- A foreign citizen that is traveling continuously through the United States to or from the United Nations Headquarters District, requires a diplomatic transit (C-2) visa. Travel within the United States will be limited to the immediate New York City vicinity.
A “C Visa” will not be approved under the following circumstances:
- A foreign citizen whose layover in the United States is for a purpose other than to transit, for example to visit friends or sightsee, requires a visitor (B) visa.
- A coasting officer seeking to enter the United States generally requires a visitor (B) visa.
- A crewmember on a private yacht sailing out of a foreign port which will be cruising in U.S. waters for more than 29 days is generally required to have a visitor (B) visa.
- An officer or employee of a designated international organization assigned to the United States may pass in immediate and continuous transit through the United States on an International Organization (G-4) visa.
If you are traveling through the U.S. and have questions regarding whether or not you need a visa to travel through the U.S., feel free to contact me by calling 716-810-2121 or by email at jfiegel@.