Whatever your reasons for wanting to travel to the United States, you will need to obtain official authorization beforehand. Whether in the form of an ESTA document for short stays (90 days maximum) or a visa for a long stay (more than 6 months), this is mandatory under penalty of being refused entry.
For a stay of less than 90 days in the United States: It is not necessary to apply for a transit visa. You can simply apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization issued by the United States (ESTA) and valid for stays of less than 90 days. To obtain your certificate in a few minutes, click on the online form.
What visas do I need to transit through the USA?
Visas are classified alphanumerically, which means that they are assigned a letter according to their category and a number according to their subcategory. In the context of transit through the United States, we will be interested in category C. It is thus classified into 5 subcategories:
- C1 Visa is for air or sea passengers;
- C1D Visa is for aircrew or boat crew members;
- Visa C2 is exclusively for staff working for United Nations headquarters;
- C3 visa is for senior officials in transit;
- C4 visa is reserved for passengers in transit under the ATP program (pilot training).
As with any official authorization, it will be necessary to build a file using documents supporting your request:
- Your valid passport;
- Completed form DS-160;
- A recent identity photo;
- A photocopy of your bank account statement to prove that your income is sufficient to travel;
- Your plane tickets to demonstrate your need to transit through the United States.
If you are traveling with your family, you will need to apply for a C-1 visa for every adult and child. When you are granted a visa, you will be allowed to transit through the United States for a maximum of 29 days. You can then leave the airport and visit the surroundings or go shopping if your connecting flight leaves a few days later.
What is the alternative to a visa for a transit in the USA?
In recent years, the ESTA travel authorization has become increasingly popular. Indeed, to make a transit the ESTA is ideal.
The main reasons for its success are:
- Its simplicity: a request for ESTA is realized entirely online. No need to make an appointment at the embassy or consulate. You can obtain your authorization from the comfort of your home, simply by using your valid passport.
- Its low cost: this authorization is up to 10 times cheaper than a visa, the file fees are at least 14 dollars only.
- Its speed: getting an ESTA is usually instantaneous, but will only take 72 hours in any case.
Rather than applying for a C-1 visa that will take several weeks, make your life easier by getting in ESTA in minutes, especially if you only need to make a stopover for a few hours in a US airport.