Transit aliens Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Transit aliens are exempt in many important ways from the requirements for other immigrant travelers in the United States.

Transit aliens are defined as non-U.S. citizens who are permitted to travel through the United States with or without regular visas. They include foreign nationals who are entitled to pass to and from the United Nations;and transit aliens[transit aliens]United Nations Headquarters District in New York City as well as diplomats and officials of foreign governments, along with their spouses and unmarried dependent children who are passing through the United States on their way to other countries. According to the statutory provisions of the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual, these travelers must provide documentation indicating that they are in the United States for official business with the United Nations. Alternatively, they must be able to show that they possess tickets with common carriers to final destinations outside the United States and adequate funds to complete their journeys.Visas;and transit aliens[transit aliens]Transit aliensNoncitizens;transit aliensVisas;and transit aliens[transit aliens]TransitaliensNoncitizens;transit aliens[cat]IMMIGRATION REFORM;Transit aliens[cat]TRANSPORTATION;Transit aliens

Travelers designated as transit aliens are automatically awarded one of three visa types. Holders of the Visas;C-1[C 01]C-1 transit visa are allowed to enter into the United States while transitioning to other countries. To be eligible for this type of visa, travelers must be able to show visas to their ultimate destinations and appropriate travel reservations.

C-2 visas Visas;C-2[C 02]are provided to foreign citizens and family members traveling to or from the United Nations Headquarters District. Visas;C-3[C 03]C-3 visas are issued to representatives of foreign governments and their immediate family members who are passing through the United States on their way to other countries. Although these travelers have been largely exempt from many of the security measures enacted after September 11, 2001, they are still subject to providing adequate documentation regarding the nature of their travel to officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.Visas;and transit aliens[transit aliens]Transit aliensNoncitizens;transit aliens

Further Reading
  • Anosike, Benji O. How to Obtain Your U.S. Immigration Visa for a Temporary Stay: The Non-Immigrant Visa Kit. Newark, N.J.: Do-It-Yourself Legal Publishers, 2003.
  • Beshara, Edward C., et al. Emigrating to the U.S.A.: A Complete Guide to Immigration, Temporary Visas, and Employment. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1994.
  • Gania, Edwin T. U.S. Immigration Step by Step. 3d ed. Naperville, Ill.: Sphinx Sourcebooks, 2006.


Green cards

Immigration law


Permanent resident status

Resident aliens

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