C-1 visa is a non-immigrant transit visa which is of great use to passengers passing through the United States. This visa is mostly sought by passengers who enter the U.S. to continue their travel by joining an aircraft or a vessel. The visa is to be obtained by all those passing through the US to another foreign country. That is whether an individual is traveling alone or with family, every member of the family, including children and babies, need to apply for and obtain a separate C-1 visa.

To summarize the function of this visa, it can be said that this visa can be used by a non-US citizen who is visiting/transiting to a foreign country and is merely moving through the United States during the transit.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to obtain a C-1 visa, the applicant must prove that he/she qualifies for a C-1/Transit visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act requirements. The U.S. views every applicant as a prospective immigrant and thus, the applicant must demonstrate the following requirements:

  • The applicant’s plan of the trip is to move into the U.S. for crew-related business or transit.
  • The applicant’s staying period is definite in nature.
  • The applicant has a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding responsibilities which will assure their return to abroad at the conclusion of their trip.

Procedure

The process to obtain a C-1 visa is as follows:

  • Online Application
    The online application includes an online non-immigrant visa form DS-160 to be filled and submitted by the applicant. Once submitted, the confirmation page must be printed by the applicant. This confirmation is to be carried at the time of the visa interview.
  • Uploading a Photograph
    While the form it is filled, the applicant must also upload his/her photograph which fulfills all the dimension requirements. To know more, click here.
  • Making Payment
    Once the application has been uploaded along with the photograph, the applicant must then go about making payment of the visa application fee. This fee is non-refundable irrespective of whether visa has been issued or not.
  • Scheduling an Appointment
    On obtaining the confirmation, the applicant must schedule and fix an appointment for the visa interview with the U.S. Embassy or consulate. It is important to note that not all applicants need to appear for an interview. Applicants belonging to the age group 14-79 years are required to appear for an interview, whereas, those with 13 years of age or younger and 80 years of age or older need not take an interview. However, there may be exceptions depending on the visa officer.

Documentation

  • Passports: A passport must be valid for at least six months beyond period of stay in U.S. (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). In case, more than one person is included in a passport, each person needs to submit a separate application in order to obtain a visa.
  • Non-immigrant visa application: Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt: In case you are required to pay before the interview
  • Photo: Need to upload the photo while completing the online DS-160 form. In case, the photo upload is not done successfully, an applicant needs to produce one printed photo (as per the photograph requirements)

Additional Documentation

Additional documents may be requested to test the qualification for the visa:

  • Purpose of entry into U.S. is to transit while traveling onward to another country and that the visa holder intends to depart the U.S.
  • Proofs to show that the applicant will be able to pay all the costs while in the U.S.
  • Documents that show that applicant has a residence in his/her home country and the intent to return back after the stay in the U.S.

Dependents

The spouse or dependent children below the age of 18 years can accompany the principal visa holder by obtaining a B-2 dependent non-immigrant visa. However, if the dependents wish to move to the U.S. for another reason which classifies under another type of visa or qualification of the applicant under the visa waiver program, also called VWP.

Reciprocity Issues

At times a crewman may be issued a combined C-1/D visa. However, this is the case when the number of applications and period of validity for both types is the same. When the reciprocity schedules a different number of applications and a different period of validity, the consular officer issues separate C-1 and D visas to the crewman.

 

Tips

  • Wait times to obtain a visa are generally dependent on certain factors such as season, location, and category of visa.
  • It is best to apply for such visas from the place of permanent residence rather than a foreign country.
  • Whether a visa will be issued or not depends entirely at the discretion of the visa officer. It is advisable to book travel tickets only after receiving the visa.