I am travelling to Colombia (South America) via US and have 12 hour stay in Washington (evening and night). I wanted to apply for US tourist visa so that I can possibly go out for evening and also because I don't have to apply for Colombia tourist visa then. My journey is after 6 weeks. Can anyone suggest me the estimated deadlines for visa and the factors that could matter so that I can decide accordingly. I am not sure if 12 hour stay is a strong enough reason to be granted tourist visa.

The alternative would be US transit visa + Colombian tourist visa.

Personal info:

  • Indian citizen
  • First international trip
  • Doing job and decent savings
  • 4
    note that you can also go out on a transit visa – user102008 Jan 6 '16 at 10:49
  • is it intended to use transit visa like that? looks confusing. anyways any idea if my case for getting tourist visa is strong enough – singhsumit Jan 6 '16 at 11:17
  • 1
    All US transits are landside, so everyone must clear immigration and can leave the airport if they wish. – Michael Hampton Jan 6 '16 at 22:36

In your situation, I would apply for a transit visa.

  • You can still go out of the airport on a transit visa
  • The primary reason for you being in the US is transit, so it's a more truthful visa application
  • I am pretty sure that a transit visa is easier to get (i.e. lower chance of denial) than a toursit visa. A visa denial looks really bad on your record. Better to get the easier visa first, and then get a tourist visa later when you really need it. At that point, you will already have international travel on-record (including a transit via the US) - it would be a stronger tourist visa application at that point.

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