Millions of people travel to different destinations every year. Unfortunately, not all flights can be finished in one journey without stopping somewhere along the way. For this reason, most countries issue transit visas to help travelers who will only be transiting in that specific country for a few hours until moving on to their destination.
What Is a Transit Visa?
A transit visa is a travel document allowing you to pass through another country until you reach your destination. For example, if you are traveling from India to the US, but you need to stop in the Schengen Zone to continue your flight for the US, you require a transit visa for the Schengen Area.
Transit visas are short-term and are usually not required for everyone— that is why it’s important to contact an embassy or consulate before you travel to see if you need a transit visa.
Transit Visa by Country
You can apply for a transit visa for any of the following countries depending on where you are headed:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
- United Arab Emirates
- Schengen Transit Visa
Transit Visa Fees by Country
Here is how the transit visa fees change from country to country:
|Australia||Free of charge|
|Canada||Free of charge|
|New Zealand||NZD 12|
|Schengen transit visa (valid for all countries in the Schengen area)||EUR 80|
|The United Kingdom||GEP 35-64|
|The United States||USD 160|
What Is the Transit Zone?
The transit zone is a designated area within an international airport where you can stay until your flight to your destination is ready to board. Transit zones allow you to wait in the airport without going through immigration— if you don’t leave the airport.
Do I Need a Transit Visa If I Leave the Transit Zone?
You need a transit visa if you leave the transit area. However, nationals from specific countries (Iran, Syria, Guinea, etc.) will need a transit visa regardless of whether they leave the transit area or not.
Difference Between Transit and Transfer Passenger
As a transit passenger, you will be continuing your journey on the same aircraft. While, as a transfer passenger, you will continue your flight in another aircraft or airline. Usually, for transfers, you must check in again at the airport.
Important: You need to check with your airline whether you need a visa when transferring during your flight.
Difference Between Direct, Connecting, and Non-Stop Flights
There is a significant difference between a direct, connecting, and a non-stop flight:
- A direct flight follows a route from point A to point B without changing flight numbers but may stop along the way to pick up new passengers.
- A connecting flight follows a route from point A to point B with a stop in point C (in this case, you will need a transit visa).
- A non-stop flight follows a route from point A to point B without stopping or transiting in point C.
Transit Visa Documents Required
The following documents will be required for your transit visa application:
- Airport transit visa application form.
- Your passport with six-month validity and blank pages.
- Passport identity pictures.
- Travel health insurance.
- Travel ticket to your destination country.
- Visa for your destination country (if required).
- Financial evidence that you can support your trip.
How to Get a Transit Visa?
Here’s how you can get a transit visa:
- Check if you need an airport visa.
- Prepare your documents.
- Locate a visa application center.
- Submit your application.
Check If You Need an Airport Visa
Before applying for an airport visa, you need to make sure you need one. Depending on your nationality, your purpose of visit, and which country you will be transiting to, you may not require a transit visa at all. You need to contact the airline and an embassy or consulate of your destination country to verify this information.
Prepare Your Documents
If you need a transit visa, assemble and prepare your documents. The list of required documents may change depending on your transition country. However, you still need to have your documents translated and verify them with an apostille stamp or certify them at an official office.
Locate a Visa Application Center
You need to find a representative of your transit country, either an embassy or consulate or a visa application center. Once you find the visa office, make an appointment to attend your interview and submit your application.
Submit Your Application
Finally, you can submit your application and complete the visa interview. Please note that you must apply for a transit visa before you leave for your flight— you cannot receive a transit visa at the airport.
Transit Visa Validity
A transit visa is valid for 24 hours. That’s the usual amount of time it takes for you to board the flight to your destination country. If you are going to spend more time in your transitioning country, you need to apply for a tourist visa.
How Much Does a Transit Visa Cost?
A transit visa may cost $25 up to $100, depending on the country. Several countries do not require an application fee for a transit visa.
Transit Visa Exemptions
You are exempted from applying for a transit visa if one of the following applies to you:
- You already have a valid visa for the country in which you will transit.
- You hold a valid diplomatic passport.
- Your country has a bilateral agreement with your transit country.
- You won’t be leaving the transit zone (for nationals of specific countries).
- Your transition period will be less than 24 hours (not in all countries).