I am about to apply for my US ESTA, and there is a question asking if the travel to the US is in transit for another country. I am planning to fly to New York from the UK, stay for a couple of days, and then fly on to Canada. At the other end I will get a bus from Canada to the US and then fly home from there. Do I answer yes or no to the transit question?

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    ‘Transit’ typically means short-term (usually max 24 hours) travel across or through the a country on the way to another country. If you’re staying for 2+ days you’re visiting, IMHO.
    – Traveller
    Apr 4, 2019 at 19:25
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    @Traveller yet a garden-variety C-1 US transit visa can authorize up to 29 days of presence in the US. It's archaic, I know, but there it is. The US really puts more emphasis on purpose than on duration.
    – phoog
    Apr 4, 2019 at 19:27
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    @phoog I'd love to see the incredulous looks given to someone who applies for a transit visa saying they want to take a ship from Europe to New York, ride a bicycle (fairly quickly) across the country, and catch a freighter to Asia from the west coast. Apr 4, 2019 at 20:00
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    @ZachLipton yeah, or just to walk from Abbottsford, BC to Tijuana. I suspect that the purpose would be deemed recreational rather than transportational, and a B visa required.
    – phoog
    Apr 4, 2019 at 20:05
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    @AzorAhai that depends on the time of year.
    – phoog
    Apr 4, 2019 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


Answer no. You should only answer yes if the sole purpose of your trip is transit. In your case, the purpose of your trip is twofold: one purpose is to get to Canada, but another purpose, however secondary it may be, is to spend a few days in New York.

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