C - TRANSIT VISA
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Transit (C) visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States enroute to another country, with few exceptions.
If you already have a valid visitor (B) visa, you may be able to use it to transit the United States. If you are a citizen of a participating country, you may be able to transit the United States on the Visa Waiver Program.
Here are some examples of travel purposes which may require a C visa:
A foreign citizen traveling to another country who will have a brief layover in the United States when the only reason for entering the United States is to transit.
A passenger embarking from a foreign port on a cruise ship or other vessel which is proceeding to another country, other than the United States, but during the course of the journey, the vessel makes port in the United States with no intention of landing in the United States.
A crewmember traveling to the United States as a passenger to join a ship or aircraft you will work on, providing services for operation. You will also need a crewmember D visa, most often issued as a combination C-1/D visa. Learn more about Crewmember visas.
A foreign citizen proceeding in immediate and continuous transit through the United States to or from the United Nations Headquarters District, under provisions of the Headquarters agreement with the United Nations, requires a diplomatic transit (C-2) visa. Travel within the United States will be limited to the immediate New York City vicinity.
You will need to complete Form DS-160 to apply for the C Visa. Aliens seeking a C visa from certain countries may be able to enter the United States without a visa.