Transit Visas

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What are Transit Visas?

Transit visas are a type of visa that are required for some travelers who are traveling outside their country, but will be stopping by or passing through an airport in another country.  The traveler would then have to secure a transit visa so they can pass through or stop over in the other country prior to reaching their destination.

For example, suppose that citizen of Japan is traveling to Canada.  If they need to stop by the U.S. on the way to Canada, they may be required to secure a transit visa for their stop over in the U.S. 

What is a “Direct Transit Area”?

Transit visas are typically valid for a short period, anywhere from 1-10 days depending on the circumstances.  During that time, the person is usually required to stay within a designated area in or near the airport, called a “Direct Transit Area”.  It’s important to note such time frames, in order to avoid overstaying a visa.

Direct Transit Areas are usually associated with a more limited form of transit visa called an “Airside Transit Visa”.  Persons with an Airside Transit Visa usually can’t leave the direct transit area without authorization. 

What are the Requirements for Obtaining a Transit Visa?

This will of course depend on the person’s country of origin, travel destinations, and stop-overs.  For transit visas for stop overs in the U.S., the person must meet the following requirements:

In addition, the person must usually participate in an interview process at an embassy or consular office when they apply for their travel documents.  However, persons 13 years old or younger, or age 80 and older generally don’t need to be interviewed in order to obtain a transit visa.

Lastly, the person will need to submit various fees and supporting documents for the transit visa, such as a valid passport and photo ID.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With a Transit Visa?

Transit visas are an important document when it comes to international travel.  If you or your loved ones need help securing a transit visa, you should hire an immigration lawyer for advice and assistance.  Your attorney can help determine what you options are under current immigration laws.  If you believe you have issues involving a violation of transit visa requirements, you should speak with an attorney immediately.  Your attorney can represent you in court if you need to attend a court hearing, and will be able to perform various other legal tasks on your behalf.

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Last Modified: 09-24-2012 03:27 PM PDT

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