What You Need to Know About Transit Visas

Thousands of people enter the United States for various reasons every year. While many are citizens returning home or immigrants looking to build a new life, others are only making an international stopover on their way to another country. If they want to briefly tour their surroundings during this pause in transit, they may have to hold a transit visa (also known as a C-visa).

The C-1 visa is intended for travelers who meet one of the following criteria:

  • They will have a layover (less than 29 days) in the U.S. while traveling to another country
  • They are a passenger on a cruise ship stopping at an American port
  • They are coming to the U.S. to join an aircraft or ship as an employee (in this instance they would also need a crew member (D) visa)

C-1 visa applications includes tourists, airline flight crews, and both passengers and crews of seafaring vessels. For example, if you are a citizen of Argentina on a yacht heading to Canada, and you stop over in the United States en route, you will probably need to obtain a transit visa for the temporary visit.

How to Apply for a C-Visa

To apply for a C-visa, you must supply the following items to your nearest U.S. consulate or embassy before heading out in your vessel:

  • A completed application form DS-156
  • Two recent photos
  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least six months longer than your intended stay

You must also be able to prove that you:

  • Are only passing through the U.S. en route to another country
  • Have sufficient funds to reach your final destination
  • Have an airline ticket or other means (e.g., the yacht) to reach your destination
  • Will be staying in the U.S. for no more than 29 days

If you plan to sail to the United States en route to another destination, a transit visa will ensure that you enjoy your visit without legal complications. For assistance with documentation that will clear your vessel for arrival in a U.S. port, contact the Customs Brokerage Division at Howard S. Reeder. We can also arrange for a Cruising License that allows you to move freely through U.S. waters, so your stopover here will be well worth the trip. For more information, contact us today.

Written by Howard S Reeder Inc

Howard S. Reeder, Inc is a family-owned business which has been in operation since 1940 when Howard S. Reeder Sr. founded our customs brokerage company and began helping importers bring products into the United States. Now on our third generation of ownership, both our company and our areas of expertise have greatly expanded over the more than 75 years since our inception.