Transit/Ship Crew Visa

FAQ

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Overview

Transit (C visa)

A citizen of a foreign country traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States enroute to a foreign destination requires a valid transit visa. A valid visitor (B) visa holder or a citizen of Visa Waiver Program  participating country may also be entitled to transit the United States.  If the traveler seeks layover privileges for purposes other than for transit through the United States, such as to visit friends or engage in sightseeing, the traveler will have to qualify for the type of visa required for that purpose.

Crew (D visa)

A crew member serving onboard a sea vessel or aircraft in the United States needs a crew visa. Crew members of an aircraft or ship that will be transiting through the United States or its waters generally use a combination transit/crew visa (C-1/D). However, in some cases, individuals may only require the D visa.

Crew members who work aboard vessels within the Outer Continental Shelf may qualify for a modified B-1 visa in lieu of a crew visa.

Crew members who will be entering the United States during time-off between flights or cruises should also obtain a B-1/B-2 visa to use during these personal/vacation days. Applicants applying simultaneously for both a C-1/D and a B-1/B-2 visa pay only one visa application fee.

Qualifications

To apply for a transit visa, you must show:

  • Intent to pass in immediate and continuous transit through the United States.
  • A common carrier ticket or other evidence of transportation arrangements to your destination.
  • Sufficient funds to carry out the purpose of your transit journey.
  • Permission to enter another country upon departure from the United States.

To apply for other C, D or C-1/D visas, you must demonstrate to a consular officer that:

  • The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States solely for transit or crew purposes.
  • You do not intend to be paid by a U.S. source while in the United States, unless you have been granted proper approval for a temporary work visa.
  • You plan to stay for a specific, limited period of time.
  • You have evidence of funds to cover all expenses while in the United States.

Application Items

To apply for a transit or crew member visa, you must pay your $160 application fee and submit the following:

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 web page for more information about the DS-160.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
  • One (1) 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) photograph taken within the last six months. This web page has information about the required photo format.
  • If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State's website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
  • If applicable, a seaman's book valid beyond the expiration date of your employment contract and all prior seamen's books. Crew members must submit an official report of loss if they are unable to submit the book.

In addition to these items, you must present an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service. You may also bring whatever supporting documents you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.

How to Apply

Step 1

Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 2

Pay the visa application fee.

Step 3

Schedule your appointment on this web page. You need the following three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment:

  • Your passport number.
  • The receipt number from your Visa Fee receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page.
Step 4

Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General on the date and time of your visa interview. You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one recent photograph, and your current and all old passports. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents are only one of many factors a consular officer will consider in your interview. Consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural, and other factors during adjudication. Consular officers may look at your specific intentions, family situation, and your long-range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

Although supporting documents may assist you in your interview, consular officers rely primarily on the interview to determine your eligibility for a visa. In other words, supporting documents are voluntary and of secondary importance.

Caution: Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. If confidentiality is a concern, you should bring your documents to the Embassy or Consulate General in a sealed envelope. The Embassy or Consulate General will not make your information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of your information.

You should bring the following documents to your interview:

  • Current proof of income, tax payments, property or business ownership, or assets.
  • A letter from your employer detailing your position, salary, how long you have been employed, any authorized vacation and the business purpose, if any, of your U.S. trip.
  • Where appropriate, an itinerary and/or other information about your planned trip. (This can be tentative.)
  • Bank savings account books or other evidence of liquid assets that indicate the balance in your accounts and account activity.
  • Real estate lease or deeds.
  • For crew: a current joining letter (original preferred).
  • If you have a Chinese Seafarer’s Passport, copies of pages 1 (biopage and observations) and 32 (amendments).
  • If you have a Chinese Seafarer’s Identity Document, copies of pages 1-3 (biopage and observations) and all used pages from beginning to present.  

More Information

For more information about transit visas and visas for crew members, visit the Department of State's website.