What Visa Do I Need to Transit Through the USA?

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Transiting through the United States can be a seamless experience if you’re equipped with the correct travel documentation. Whether you’re traveling for business, pleasure, or simply passing through en route to another destination, understanding the visa requirements can ensure a smooth journey. The United States provides a specialized travel authorization for those who intend to transit, called the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

For many travelers, obtaining an ESTA is an expedient process that facilitates short stays and transit through the U.S. for citizens of VWP Countries. With the ESTA, eligible individuals can avoid the lengthier and more complex process of obtaining a traditional visa. Below, we’ll dive into essential information about the ESTA, including its application process, benefits for transit travelers, and common queries addressed in our FAQs section.

Understanding the ESTA for Transit Purposes

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is not a visa; it’s an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It is required for travelers transiting through the U.S. to another destination. ESTA authorizes individuals to stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days, whether for transit, tourism, or business purposes.

If you’re a citizen of a country that is part of the VWP and your travel plans require you to transit through the United States, here’s how you can obtain your ESTA:

  1. Fill out our easy-to-use online application form. The application takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to have your passport handy.
  2. Submit & Pay for your application. We accept all payment types. PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay & Credit Card.
  3. Get your ESTA emailed to you within 72hrs. We’ll email you your approved travel authorization and that’s it, you’re ready to go!

If you need your ESTA in a hurry, you can choose from our two expedited processing options. Simply select your add-on at checkout.

Benefits of Using ESTA for Transit

An ESTA offers significant benefits for those transiting through the United States:

  • Efficiency: The ESTA is obtained through a straightforward online process, which makes it faster and more accessible than applying for a traditional visa.
  • Duration: The ESTA is valid for two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first, allowing for multiple entries into the United States, including transits.
  • Flexibility: With an ESTA, you can stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days per visit. This gives you the flexibility to explore the U.S. or conduct business if your transit involves a prolonged layover.
  • Streamlined Entry: Travelers with an ESTA typically experience quicker entry at U.S. airports and other ports of entry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What if my country is not part of the VWP?

If your home country is not a part of the Visa Waiver Program, you will need to apply for a transit visa, also known as a C-1 visa, through a U.S. embassy or consulate.

What should I do if my ESTA application is denied?

In the rare case that an ESTA application is denied, travelers should apply for a visitor (B) visa, or a transit (C) visa, if applicable, from a U.S. embassy or consulate.

How long before my transit through the U.S. should I apply for an ESTA?

It’s recommended to apply for an ESTA as soon as your travel plans are confirmed, but not less than 72 hours before boarding your flight.

Do I need to print my ESTA to transit through the U.S.?

While it’s not mandatory to present a printed copy of your ESTA, it is advised to carry one in the event that your airline requests proof of your travel authorization.


Transiting through the United States doesn’t have to be complex. For eligible VWP citizens, acquiring an ESTA is a convenient way to ensure a smooth and hassle-free transit. Apply early, comply with the requirements, and look forward to a straightforward journey through the United States to your final destination.

With the correct preparation and understanding, your transit experience can be as engaging or as efficient as you need it to be. We at eVisaUS are here to help guide you through the process and assist with any questions you may have along the way. Safe travels!

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