C visa

What is C visa?

A citizen of a foreign country traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States enroute to a foreign destination requires a valid transit visa.

If the traveler seeks layover privileges for purposes other than for transit through the United States, such as to visit friends or for sightseeing, the applicant will have to qualify for and obtain the type of visa required for that purpose, such as a B-2 visa.

Travel purposes which require a Transit (C) Visa – Examples:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. A foreign citizen proceeding in immediate and continuous transit through the United States to or from the United Nations Headquarters District, under provisions of the Headquarters agreement with the United Nations, requires a diplomatic transit (C-2) visa. Travel within the United States will be limited to the immediate New York City vicinity.
  • Note: Travel purposes not permitted on a Transit (C) Visa – Examples:
  1. A foreign citizen whose layover in the United States is for a primary purpose other than to transit, for example to visit friends or sightseeing, requires a visitor (B) visa.
  2. A coasting officer seeking to enter the United States generally requires a visitor (B) visa. Coasting officers are employed temporarily when an officer of a foreign ship is granted home leave while the vessel is in U.S. ports, provided the vessel does not remain in U.S. waters for more than 29 days. The coasting officer may then repeat the process with another vessel of the same foreign line.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Qualification for a Transit (C) Visa

  • To apply for a transit visa, you must show:
    1. Intent to pass in immediate and continuous transit through the United States.
    2. A common carrier ticket or other evidence of transportation arrangements to your destination.
    3. Sufficient funds to carry out the purpose of your transit journey.
    4. Permission to enter another country upon departure from the United States.
  • To apply for other C, D or C-1/D visas, you must demonstrate to a consular officer that:
    1. The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States solely for transit or crew purposes.
    2. You do not intend to be paid by a U.S. source while in the United States, unless you have been granted proper approval for a temporary work visa.
    3. You plan to stay for a specific, limited period of time.
    4. You have evidence of funds to cover all expenses while in the United States.
  • Note:Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not require visas to transit the United States