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Connecting flight at JFK

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Connecting flight at JFK

1. Posted by Kitt (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

This thread is marked as being about Australia

Hi everyone, I'm flying home to Australia soon, from Canada. (I'm an Australian citizen) This time though, I have a connecting flight in New York. My dilemma is, will I need a visa? I've read about the visa waiver program, but I can't really make out a real answer from it all.


2. Posted by gocebe (Inactive 48 posts) 8y

How long is your delay in JFK? It may not be worth going out if the time is limited.

3. Posted by Kitt (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

It's only four hours, I don't want to leave the airport or anything. Just get on the next plane =[

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4933 posts) 8y

There used to be a "transfer visa" for when you'd only be in the USA to catch a connecting flight. As far as I'm aware (I didn't look this up; this is just from what I remember reading a long time ago), that has been removed, and no distinction is made anymore now between people who come to the USA for a real visit, and those who're transferring through. That means you'll fall under the visa waiver program (assuming you don't have criminal convictions or anything like that); you still don't need to get a visa in advance, but you will need to fill in the visa waiver form, go through passport control to get your fingerprints taken, be photographed, etc.
Then after that (or maybe even after customs? (in that case you'll also need to pick up your luggage, pass customs, and drop the luggage onto a conveyor belt to be transferred to your next flight)) you head on to your connecting flight (needing to go through yet another security check, probably).

Four hours should be plenty of time for all that, luckily; but don't linger - it can all take ridiculous amounts of time.

5. Posted by KoalaGirl (Travel Guru 307 posts) 8y

Hi Kitt,

Based on my travel from Australia to Canada and back (via USA), you don't need to worry about a visa. Assuming you are travelling on an Australian passport, you'll just need to fill in the landing card and green visa waiver form that they hand you on the plane.

As Sander said though

Four hours should be plenty of time for all that, luckily; but don't linger - it can all take ridiculous amounts of time.

JFK is quite a big (and often) confusing airport - check if you need to change terminals and also if you need to collect your luggage. Sometimes, even though you are only in transit, the airlines make you collect and re-check your bags.

6. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 8y

If you are travelling on an Australian passport and have not been naughty in the past by getting any criminal convictions, drink driving charges etc, then you entitled to a visa waiver. The US have just brought a new thing out to do with visas that is not compulsary yet but will be if you are travelling in early 2009. If you want to save yourself some time then you can fill it out regardless whether you are travelling soon or not. If you go to the following site you are able to fill the form in so that it should be a painless and hassel free entry to the USA. When I was in the US in 2006 entry to the USA on the visa waiver was a very painful process that made me feel as if I was a terrorist or enemy of the country. Hopefully this new process will make it so foreigners get treated more like US citizens when they arrive in the country and you get through without having to spend a couple of hours in queue like was happening in JFK.

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 11, 2008, at 3:55 AM by aharrold45 ]