I have a U.S. student visa (F1) with I 20, both are valid. I booked a ticket from Doha to Montreal, and I will have a layover in NY for about 5 hours. Although the purpose of my travel isn't to study in the U.S., I do have a valid student visa and I-20. I don't have a passport from a country eligible for the visa waiver program. Can I still transit in the U.S.?

  • However, please be aware that F1 visa have certain conditions attached and you have to be enrolled in a school to use it. Using it as a transit visa may create a future problem, particularly if your duration of stay on the I-94 doesn't correspond to your attendance at the school. If you have been absent for a certain period of time, or you are not currently enrolled, your F-1 may no longer be valid. – Giorgio Jul 10 '17 at 12:38
  • @Dorothy That would be if you've been outside of the US for 5 months or more. Before such a trip, the DSO has to be contacted – Crazydre Jul 10 '17 at 15:08
  • I am currently enrolled in a US school but the school will not start till September. I am planning be in Montreal till end of August and then go back to the US. Also it will be less than five months outside the US. I guess I will modify my flights so I will not have to transit in the US, I will be loosing money though. Better to be on the safe side. It is not making sense to me to be admitted to US as a student while being there for transit. Also it does not make sense to apply for a transit visa while my student visa is active. This is confusing. I don' know... Thank you all... – Hass Jul 10 '17 at 17:28
  • @Hass If you're starting School for the first time, then you can enter the US on the F1 visa no earlier than 30 days before you start. Otherwise it doesn't matter – Crazydre Jul 10 '17 at 17:32
  • @Crazydre that applies for my first entry on F1 visa. I have been in the School for two years. – Hass Jul 10 '17 at 17:33

A long-stay visa is superior to a transit visa, which means that as long as the visa and I20 remain valid, you can be admitted for transit as well.

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