Anyone who has ever looked at U. S. immigration laws knows that it is extremely difficult to find one's way around. The list of available VISAs is particularly long, each of them follows strict rules and the procedure for obtaining them can, in some cases, take several years.
If you think that these visa worries only concern travellers who want to stay or immigrate to the United States, you are mistaken. Thus, any person transiting through U. S. territory must ensure that he or she has a legal authorization to be temporarily in the United States.
For EU citizens, the European Union is often limited to a simple ESTA form, but in other cases a C-type transit visa is required. Here are some useful information to avoid spending a bad time in the immigration department when he arrives at Uncle Sam's house and having to turn back, at your expense.
Some countries have a visa waiver program for the United States, known as the Electronic Travel Authorization System (ETAS), more commonly known as the four-letter ESTA. For example, nationals of some countries may legally reside in the United States for less than 90 days without having to apply for a visa, as long as they have previously filled out an online form and paid the corresponding fees, usually around $15.
Among the countries benefiting from this visa waiver program with the United States are France and most Western European countries, Japan, South Korea, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and Greenland. Thus, anyone from these countries can avoid applying for a visa to the United States using the ESTA form if their visit is only temporary.
For others, however, this formality is mandatory for admission to the United States. The same applies to travellers whose ESTA has been refused.
The different types of C:
The name of each VISA to travel to the United States begins with a letter indicating the category to which the visa belongs. Thus, all visas beginning with the letter C correspond to transit visas. A figure usually follows to clarify the type of visa.
For example, if Type K visas are used for family reunification, the K-1 VISA is issued exclusively to the fiancés of American citizens, while the K-2 is intended for the minor children of the fiancés.
In the case of the C visa, there are five categories. C-1 is intended for transit passengers, C-1D for crew members, C-2 for individuals at United Nations headquarters, C-3 for senior officials in transit and C-4 for passengers in transit under the ATP programme.
In the vast majority of cases, for example, a C-1 visa must be applied for when travelling through the United States and the visa waiver program is not available.
A family transiting through the United States must apply for a C-1 visa for each member. For example, even very young children and babies registered on their parents' passports must have their own visas to be allowed into the United States.
This visa allows you to wait for your plane and even to stay for a maximum of 29 days as long as you respect the connecting time indicated on the visa application. This must be done at the nearest U. S. embassy to your home. As the time taken to obtain a visa is extremely variable, it is essential to apply as soon as possible, otherwise you will have to cancel your trip if the visa is not issued in time.
The file to be compiled includes the DS-160 form, a photocopy of the passport and a passport photo. Additional documents may be requested during the interview at the embassy, such as statements of account or pay slips proving that your income is sufficient to travel, rent receipts or family documents proving that you intend to return to your country of origin, your airline ticket or any other document that the consular officer may deem useful for issuing the visa.