10 Important Things to know About Transit Visas – 2024 Guide

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Before you go off for a trip, it is always good to prepare yourself. That means, besides packing all the necessary things, you also need to see what kind of documents you need to have for the country you want to visit. One thing is clear, whatever country you want to visit, you need to have some of your identification documents. In some of them, you can enter with your ID card for some of them you need your passport, and there are also countries for which you need a visa.

It is necessary to be sure what kind of documents you need to avoid any displeasure during your trip. You should be aware that many countries are demanding a transit visa, no matter if you are only staying at the airport to wait for the next flight, so you are just passing by. But don’t worry, in this text, you will find everything you need to know about transit visas.

1. What is a transit visa?

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A transit visa represents a type of visa that is valid for a short time. With this visa, you can cross through a foreign country, but without staying. A transit visa is not the same for everyone, and there are two general criteria for gaining one: where are you from (nationality), and where are you traveling to (destination)?

For example, you may need an airport transit visa or short-stay visa in France, and you can apply for a 144-hour visa-free transit in Japan. Airport transit visa means that you can only pass the international zone of the airport, but not enter the country area. With a short stay visa, you can cross the airport by entering the country’s territory. The 144-hour visa-free transit means that you have a few days (six days in France) to explore the country, without having any other visa type.

2. Where to apply for a transit visa?

You apply for the transit visa either at the consulate or at the embassy where you will change your flight/vessel.

3. What documents do you need to apply for a transit visa?

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In almost every country you will need a passport which is valid at least one month (90 days for some countries) after the date of your arrival in that country. Filling the immigration form at the airport is something that you will also need to do. The important thing is to know that you will need to have enough money for your stay there, and they may request your criminal record and, or return ticket.

4. How long does it take to get a transit visa?

It depends on many things, but you should prepare yourself that you can wait up to four weeks. The immigration departure needs time to process your request and to check all the necessary documents. That means that you should apply on time.

5. What if you are traveling with your pet?

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Don’t worry! Many countries don’t require exceptional documents if you are staying at the airport to wait for the next flight. It depends on the final stop of your journey. Your pet sure needs to have a valid passport, medical record, and be well prepared for the trip, but that’s enough for many passing by countries. Despite that, some countries do ask for a transit visa for your pet, so it is better to check before you go, but if your pet is healthy, this visa is easy to get.

6. What if you don’t have a valid transit visa?

If you don’t have a valid transit visa during the passport control, you will not be able to board the plane. It is not an option to pay for it at the airport, so it is better to get it before you get there.

7. How much is the transit visa?

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Fees for this type of visa vary and can cost you about 60€ for transit Schengen visa, 13€ for UAE, 160$ for the USA, and it is free for Australia. If you are planning a trip to China, you need to know that the cost of the transit visa is not the same for every country, and it can cost more for a double entry. If you are planning a visit to Hong Kong, you need to know that they have different migration regulations than China, and citizens from some countries need to obtain a Hong Kong transit visa. For more information about that, and Hong Kong’s basic entry requirements for foreign visitors, click here.

8. Is the transit visa needed for a layover?

If your layover is less than six hours or you do not leave the airside of the airport, which means that you don’t go through customs and passport control, then you don’t need a transit visa. But if that is not the case, since most of the countries will let you in without a transit visa, you will have to accommodate yourself in the transit area.

9. Do travel agencies provide transit visas?

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Most of the travel agencies do provide their customers with transit visas, but some say that it is your responsibility to ensure all proper documentation for the entire trip. That is something you should always check with the travel agent. Hint – A travel agency’s good reputation can also be something to help you out with the application for transit and other visas.

10. How long does the transit visa last?

Since you need this type of visa for staying in one country for a short amount of time, transit visas last approximately several days. In Australia, a transit visa is valid for 72h, in the USA, that period is for 29 days, but for the UK is six months.

Everything mentioned above should help you apply and gain a transit visa, but the best way to find out if you need it, and the costs and documentation required if so, is to check with the consulate or embassy. Keep in mind that if your layover is more than 6 hours, and you want to explore that country, you may need a different visa.