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US Transit Visas  
User currently offlineAA787 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 610 posts, RR: 12
Posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1919 times:

What is the history of the transit visa? Why is it supposed to be helpful and what is it doing to damage the US economy?

AA787


ET In NYC
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineArrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2676 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1902 times:
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My understanding is that anyone transiting the US to get from Asia or Europe to South America requires a US visa, which must be applied for months ahead of time.

Not sure if you can quantify cost, but Air Canada has added a slew of flights from Toronto to South America, Vancouver to South America to entice connecting Europeans and Asians who don't want the hassle of getting a visa and going through US customs. Probably taking some traffic away from United and other US carriers who ran their connections through US cities.



Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
User currently offlineAA787 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 610 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1875 times:

Thanks for that. What is the purpose of the visas?

AA787



ET In NYC
User currently offlineCloud4000 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 641 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1867 times:

The UK has the same thing, and it's completely stupid.

This is to prevent traveller from visa-waiver countries from illegally enter the United States.

I don't know why can't hold them in a secure transit area like they do in Europe.



Boston, USA
User currently offlineMarshalN From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2005, 1521 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1857 times:

Quoting Cloud4000 (Reply 3):
I don't know why can't hold them in a secure transit area like they do in Europe.

It's really not very hard, but they don't seem to grasp the concept. The thing is that there are many airports where they have a route that directs all transit types back into the secured area. The problem, of course, is that when you exit the US there is no immigration check. Which means that even if you direct the pax into the departure area, airside, they can still go back out. I guess trying to fix that is too hard for them (all the airports need to be refitted, basically) so you end up with a visa requirement. Which, of course, is completely idiotic and kills a good amount of transit traffic.


User currently offlineAA787 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 610 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1843 times:

How many routes has AC added that could be tied into the addition of US transit visas?

AA787



ET In NYC
User currently offlineCayMan From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 905 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1842 times:

For most S American countries citizens also need a via to transit through Canada--however a transit visa to Canada is free (whereas it is a non refundable $100 to US--or I should say "was" as there is no more US transit visa--transiting pax require a full visitors visa to transit throiugh US and that costs $100)--also it is generally easier to get the visa to Canada---for example--in Caracas Venezuelan citizens have to call and book an appt at US embassy to get a visa--in fact they even have to pay for the phone call--

appointments for US embassy in CCS can literally take MONTHS to get.

on the other hand---walk in same day service is still available at Canadian embassies in most s american countries.

Air Canada will definitely do very well byu this as many many many s americans do not want to transit the US on way to Asia or Europe.


User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11153 posts, RR: 59
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1838 times:

Quoting Cloud4000 (Reply 3):
The UK has the same thing, and it's completely stupid.

Only for a few nationalities.



"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineGeoffm From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2111 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1765 times:

Quoting AA787 (Thread starter):
What is the history of the transit visa? Why is it supposed to be helpful and what is it doing to damage the US economy?

On a similar note, is it still available? In the arrivals hall at EWR there were displays that showed the forms, but the immigration people said they weren't available any more. Perhaps they're not available upon arrival and only through an embassy? Somebody please enlighten me!

Quoting Arrow (Reply 1):
My understanding is that anyone transiting the US to get from Asia or Europe to South America requires a US visa, which must be applied for months ahead of time.

No. Europeans that fit into the visa-waiver program can apply on arrival when travelling to South America - just as I did a few months ago. Those that don't fit... well, that's a different story, but it's certainly not "anyone transiting the US".

Geoff M.


User currently offlineSoups From Ghana, joined Jun 2004, 3438 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1755 times:

i think transit visa system is a bit wacko...... provided you are connecting with 24 hours and not leaving the airport.
a good number of people flying lagos to USA (for example) will have to pass thru europe(UK or Shenguen) they will need a trasit visa.
I believe a good number of airlines loose customers because of transit visa issues.
i once flew (in 1994) BEY-LHR-LAX with NO transit visa. during my 1 week stay in LAX, VS/BA/UA wouldnt let me board to LHR as i have no transit visa.
My brother was flying ACC-Zurich-lhr-LAX (in the old days when SR use to be alive). while he was boarding the flight to LHR he was denied boarding as he didnt have a UK Transit Visa. we had to buy him a 1 way Zurich-LAX and only seat available was in first class (OUCH).
I also recall in the old days (end 80s) we use to fly via LHR with no transit visas, and a transit visa will be issued at the airport for 72 hours provided we had onward connections



Next destinations, Suarabaya, beirut, paris, Accra
User currently offlineARGinLON From Vatican City, joined Jun 2005, 614 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 1730 times:

I believe this new visa regulations pushed IB to closed its MIA hub since most of the ethnic traffic between South A. and Europe stopped flying IB.

Although this wasn't the main reason for closing MIA, it gave the final push.


User currently offlineLegacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1659 times:

I can see that the airports in the US in general are designed a little different that ours here in Europe. For Europeans going "International" is very normal, as the coutries are smaller than the US. In the US the big market is the domestic one. Basically everybody goes most of the time the same or a similar way as the domestic pax. So it's obvious, that one of the first person you will meet, going to the US is the Immigration officer, because after this desk everything works the same for all passengers, regardless where they go or where they come from. In regard of this, it seems logic that they feel the need to ask for those transit visas.

On the other hand it doesn't make sense to me to make a difference between a transit visa and a one for a tourist or whatever. If I had the intention to go there ilegally and would not get the toursit visa, I would try it with the transit one. Once trough the control, I would disappear quietly. So at least for me it would look more logic to ask everybody for the same visa.

Finally in our international world best would be to create ways, that the passengers can transit trough an airport without this bureaucratics. It is annoying everybody, not only the people who need to ask for, also the officers in need to check it. I can understand those people, getting the feeling as "I am travelling trough the US, bring them the business and get discriminated by the transit visa..." as for sure, the major part of those has no bad intention with the US. Finally the economical damage is to the airlines going trough the US, as passengers may go a much longer way via another country, just to avoid the transit visa.

I think the safest for the US would be to start and configurate the airports as we have it in Europe with transit areas that don't need anything. It would also bring more passengers to the US airlines and prevent from bad feelings which are understandable, even though not always justified.


User currently offlineJimbobjoe From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 653 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1638 times:

What is the history of the transit visa?

This question gets into the nitty gritty of what's the history of the visa in the first place. Though visas and passports are relatively new things (the passport was introduced in World War I--I have heard, though not confirmed, that their introduction was for the purpose of thwarting espionage. That amuses me because it proves people were as dumb then as they are now.) At any rate, at one time a person travelling by train that was going through multiple european countries had to have a transit visa for each country. (Visas proliferate--one country decides it wants a visa for all its toursts/transits and then another country in response demands visas for all people from the first country, and...ugh.)

Today the main purpose of transit visas is so that the transiting country knows who is entering their country for any reason. The US enhances its transit visa requirements (essentially turned them into tourist visa requirements) after 9/11 based on the idea that what the 9/11 terrorists did could be done with an internatinal flight, by passengers who weren't intending to be in the US for more than 2 hours as they were changing planes to another country. Though passenger lists are sent to Homeland Security right around departure time, the US felt it better to have a full visa application on file for every US bound passenger


User currently offlineSampa737 From Brazil, joined May 2005, 637 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1632 times:

Doesn't take but maybe a week to get one for Brasil. But a Brasilian trying to get one is much harder than an American getting one going to Brasil. What's the purpose? It's a money maker!

User currently onlineMAH4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 32740 posts, RR: 72
Reply 14, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1622 times:

Quoting Arrow (Reply 1):
Vancouver to South America

Air Canada has no flights between Vancouver and South America.



a.
User currently offlineSoups From Ghana, joined Jun 2004, 3438 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1607 times:

They fly vancouver to puerto Vallarta and Cancun (doesn't count as South America tho). They also codeshare to mexico city (not sure what airline)


Next destinations, Suarabaya, beirut, paris, Accra
User currently offlineLegacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 26
Reply 16, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1603 times:

Quoting Sampa737 (Reply 13):
What's the purpose? It's a money maker!

There are some African countries, you can buy the visa at the airport if you don't have it. Here it is very obvious that it is nothing than making money. In the case of the US I woudn't say this, I think it's more like not organized the right way. They may have also the intention to keep the lesser serious demanders away by not making it to easy.

Basically it is every single coutries right to ask what they want. They just need to accept that the person asking for gets it's first impression. This is always for sure depending of the way, how they ask it. In the case of the US, one of the most developed coutry, I would love to see them, coming up with a less complicated more customerfriendly way to treat the visa story. I can respect every aspect they justify the need for. But they should find a way to make it possible fast, efficient and treat the applicat with dignity and respect. If done this way, it will help them as well, as the applicant will respect them as well.

The US are in many aspects a very liberal country that still gives this "great freedome" to the people living or travelling there. They could make up a lot for their reputation by updating the visa process to todays standarts  Wink


User currently offlineFrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3750 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1603 times:

Quoting ARGinLON (Reply 10):
I believe this new visa regulations pushed IB to closed its MIA hub since most of the ethnic traffic between South A. and Europe stopped flying IB.

True. Mia used to be an ideal hub for IB to get all that that traffic from Central America to Europe. Back in the time, citizens from Central America and South America did not need a US visa to transit through MIA and some other airports via designated airlines. All they had to do is pay an extra $50 fee and they would be supervised and directed to an international transit area until their connecting flight left.

Very practical for all those people to transit via the US, which was by far the cheapest option. After 9/11, the TSA did not really like having a bunch of people they knew nothing about transiting via US airspace and decided to axe that and require a visa.

Now IB has set up a few direct flights from MAD to some destinations that justified the traffic (Costa Rica, Guatemala...) and worked out a deal with AA for transiting pax from the rest of the C.A. destinations.



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineYULWinterSkies From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2178 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1589 times:

Quoting Cloud4000 (Reply 3):
This is to prevent traveller from visa-waiver countries from illegally enter the United States.

No. There are no transit visas, only bussiness/tourism visas (or work, study, etc for longer stays). The fact is you need the same documentation for a plane connection (even on the same flight, like YVR-HNL-SYD) that you would need to really enter the country. The reason for that is in your quote below. If you are from a visa-waiver country, you don't need a visa, but the usual visa-vaiwer form (with a optic readable passport, otherwise visa again)

Quoting Cloud4000 (Reply 3):
I don't know why can't hold them in a secure transit area like they do in Europe.

Because the US have to do something different from the rest of the world. They are the best, remember, so they have to be different.  laughing 
Now with the 9/11 aftershock, it turned out that such a system was the best for them to have a total control on who is flying into the country (which is why they cancelled the transit WITHOUT a visa actually).



When I doubt... go running!
User currently offlineGeoffm From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2111 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1550 times:

Quoting YULWinterSkies (Reply 18):
Because the US have to do something different from the rest of the world. They are the best, remember, so they have to be different.

It's a shame that country can't quite decide on its policy. When I was transitting (I use the term in a general sense) I arrived in the morning and left later the same day. So on the visa waiver form in the section denoted "Place of residence whilst in US" I wrote "In transit CO94 tonight". The immigration officer crossed it out and wrote "leaving tonight to Lima". So when I returned via the US I wrote "leaving tonight to London". Immigration officer crosses it out and writes "In transit CO4 tonight". Words are not exact but you get the gist of it. A transit visa would have been better as it would have been more precise.

Geoff M.


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