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US Transit Visa for Nigerians

The US is a popular layover location with the most popular airports for connecting flights, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. If your travel needs to go through the United States, you must arrange a Transit visa.

If you need help securing a Transit visa, contact our Lagos office at +23413438882. Alternatively, you can call us on  +44 (0) 3316300929.

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    Overview of US Transit Visa

    Often referred to as a “C” visa, the US Transit visa is a great tool for Nigerian travelers, giving you the right to a short layover in the United States. However, this visa is very restrictive as it only applies for continuous transit through the United States and cannot be used for sightseeing or visiting friends.

    This article breaks down the US Transit visa, helping you understand the circumstances when it will apply to your travel, how to apply for it, and answering frequently asked questions.

    When Can I Use a Transit Visa

    It is not just brief layovers that make the Transit visa essential. Other circumstances where you might want to get a US Transit visa include the following:

    • You are a passenger on a cruise ship that makes port but does not land in the United States.
    • You are a crewmember on a ship or plane and must travel to the US to board the ship or plane. In this case, you will also need a Crewmember visa.
    • You are traveling to or from the United Nations Headquarters District in New York.

    There is also a range of travel purposes which the Transit visa will not be appropriate for. This includes the following:

    • You are a coasting officer.
    • Your primary purpose for travel is to be a tourist or to visit friends.
    • You are a crewmember of a private yacht and will be in US waters for over 29 days.
    • You are an officer of an international organization that is permitted to travel through the United States.

    If any of these circumstances apply, you cannot enter the US on a Transit visa and must investigate what alternative visa you will require.

    Applying for Your Transit Visa


    Like all US visas, there are multiple stages that you must navigate to be awarded the document. There is also an application fee of $160, which you must pay for your visa to be processed. The exact application process will depend on which type of Transit visa you are applying for. The three main types are:

    • C1 General Transit visa.
    • C2 UN Headquarters Transit visa.
    • C3 Foreign Government Transit visa.

    However, the three types of Transit visas have the same general process you must follow. The three stages you must always follow are the following:

    • Completing forms.
    • Gathering documentation.
    • Scheduling and attending an interview.

    The process for each stage is detailed in the section below.

    Completing Forms

    The primary form that you will need to complete is the DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form). The personal information that you enter on the form will be used to determine that you are eligible for the Transit visa.

    When completing your DS-160 for your Transit visa, please note that only Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome are supported, and the form will not work if you use Safari or Microsoft Edge.

    Once your application is completed, you must print off and keep the barcode page. This acts as a unique confirmation that you have completed the DS-160.

    Gathering Documentation

    There is a range of basic documentation that you need to provide to be considered for a US Transit visa which includes the following:

    • A valid passport.
    • Confirmation of your Form DS-160.
    • Payment receipt for the application fee.
    • A passport-style photograph.
    • Social media information for background checks.
    • Proof that you are permitted to enter your final destination.
    • A ticket to your final destination. This proves that you will not remain in the USA.
    • A letter explaining the purpose of your visit to the final destination.

    In some cases, you will be asked to submit further documentation which will prove the following:

    • Your purpose is consistent with the requirements for a Transit visa.
    • You can afford to pay costs while in the USA.
    • You have a residence in Nigeria and intend to return to your home.
    • A letter from your doctor explaining your medical state if you have HIV.
    • A letter explaining your arrest if you have ever been arrested in the USA.

    Scheduling and Attending an Interview

    In most cases, an interview will be required to confirm the information provided on the DS-160 and that you are eligible for a US Transit visa. The only cases when an interview will not be necessary are if the applicant is 13 or younger or 80 or older.

    The wait time for your interview varies greatly worldwide and throughout the year. However, at the time of writing (June 2023), the wait for a Transit visa appointment at the Lagos US Consulate was 411 days.

    Our expert team is dedicated to providing you with the support you need to secure your Transit Visa and enjoy a stress-free transit experience. Contact Us

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      Reasons for a Visa Refusal

      In some cases, Nigerians may have their applications for a US Transit visa refused. The most common reasons for a Transit visa to be refused includes the following:

      • Incomplete or invalid documentation.
      • Discrepancies in the reason for travel to the USA.
      • Inability to support yourself in the USA.
      • Fraud and misrepresentation in your application.
      • Previous unlawful presence in the United States.

      Some of these issues can be solved by amending your application. However, if your issues are more serious, like if you have been deported from the USA before, you will most likely have to re-plan your travel to avoid transit through the United States.

      Restrictions on a Transit Visa

      The main restriction on a US Transit visa is the time you can remain in the United States. This is 29 days or the date you are set to depart to your final destination, whichever is soonest. While you are in the US, many restrictions will apply, which include that you can’t:

      • Overstay your visa.
      • Travel or study while in the United States.
      • Get a job in the USA.
      • Extend or adjust your visa.
      • Apply for a Green Card, meaning this visa is not a pathway to permanent residency.
      • Bring dependents with you.

      It should be noted that while there is no dependent visa for the Transit visa, this does mean that your children and partner can’t join you on your travels. You will need to ensure each family member has their own Transit visa.

      How Can IAS Help?

      Many Nigerians dream of traveling the world, and the United States is a great gateway to experience South America and more because of its excellent transport connections. Our immigration attorneys at IAS are experts at helping you to realize this dream. From your first point of contact with us, we provide a bespoke service by pairing you with a lawyer that specializes in cases like yours. Your lawyer can help you compile your documents and complete your application. They can then help you prepare for your interview.

      If you want expert help with your visa application, please contact IAS’ Lagos office at +23413438882. You can also get help from our US office at +44 (0) 3316300929.

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                Related pages for your continued reading.

                Frequently Asked Questions

                You can generally expect to find out in at least five working days if your visa has been accepted. However, the wait time can be substantially longer depending on the workload of US Embassy officials. If your application has issues, you can expect the wait time to also be longer.

                As a sea crewmember, you can travel through the United States on a Transit visa. However, you will need to provide pieces of additional documents. These include the following:

                • A seaman’s book is valid beyond your employment contract. If this has been lost, you must submit an official report of loss.
                • An employment contract that correlates with your need for a Transit visa.

                Sadly, the United States Transit visa has no formal appeals process. In most cases, you will have to determine the issues with your application. If you still believe you are eligible for a Transit visa, you can reapply. Alternatively, if you find that you will not be eligible for a Transit visa, you may have to cancel your travel plans.

                If you believe that mistakes have been made while processing your application, you may be able to seek legal advice and request a review of your case.