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Tranist Visa - How to Get a Transit Visa

If you travel to a foreign country enroute to an overseas destination, you may need to obtain a transit visa. Each country determines the criteria which make a transit visa necessary or not. An exception to this is when you are in transit in a country for which U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa to enter. Most countries allow foreign citizens to remain in transit for 24 to 48 hours without the need to get a transit visa as long as they remain in the airport. Stays longer than this period of time or leaving the airport for whatever reason could oblige you to apply for a transit visa.

Transit Visa Application and Other Required Documents

The first step is to complete the appropriate visa application form. Most countries provide only one visa application form for all types of visas. Others have a specific application for each type. Some application forms need to be downloaded and printed while others are in electronic format. You need to follow the directions provided by the consular services of the country to which you are making application.

Some countries require the completion of a supplemental visa application in order to provide more detailed information about your travel plans. For example, the United States requires for all male applicants between 16-45 years of age and all applicants from state sponsors of terrorism age 16 and over, irrespective of gender, without exception to complete such a form.

A current, valid passport must be presented as well. Many countries require your passport to have a validity date at least six months beyond the your intended period of stay in the country of transit.

Finally, a current photograph must be sent in along with the application.

Other Possible Requirements for a Transit Visa

You may be asked to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses while in the transit country.

You could be asked to provide evidence of permanent residence in the United States. This is generally established by evidence of family, professional, property, employment or other ties and commitments to the United States.

The application process may include a personal interview at the embassy consular section.

Transit Visa Fees

The cost to get a transit visa varies from country to country. Quite often, the fee for a transit visa is the same as that of a tourist or business visa. There are countries, however, that charge a different fee for each type of visa. Fees can range from $30 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the country to which you are applying.

Staying Beyond Your Authorized Stay

Transit visa holders are generally not able to apply to adjust their status or extend their stay.

It is important that you depart the transit country on or before the last day you are authorized to be there. Failure to depart will cause you to be out-of-status.

Staying beyond the period of time authorized by being out-of-status is a violation of immigration laws, and may cause you to be ineligible for a visa in the future for return to the country for which you are out-of-status.

Tips for Applying for a Transit Visa

Understand all the requirements for the country through which you will be transiting. Make sure you complete the application form correctly and provide the appropriate documentation. Any mistakes can cause the processing of your application to be delayed or, even, denied.

You should always apply for your transit visa well in advance of your departure date to avoid unnecessary changes in your travel plans.

No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore final travel plans or the purchase of nonrefundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.

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