Transit/Ship Crew Visas

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. Exceptions to this requirement include those travelers eligible to transit the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program or travelers who are nationals of a country which has an agreement with the United States allowing their citizens to travel to the United States without visas.

If the traveler seeks layover privileges for purposes other than for transit through the United States, such as to visit friends or for sightseeing, the applicant will have to qualify for and obtain the type of visa required for that purpose, such as a B-2 visa.

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 simultaneusly 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
For Nonimmigrant Visa applicants:Determine your visa type by reading Common Nonimmigrant Visas. Each visa type explains the qualifications and application items. Choose the visa type that applies to your situation.

Be sure to also review the Visa Waiver Program. If your country participates in the Visa Waiver Program, you do not need to apply for a visa if you are travelling for business or pleasure and will only be staying in the Unites States for 90 days or less.

Note: If you are under 14 or over 79 years old, or if you previously received a U.S. visa that expired within the last 48 months or 12 months and you are returning to the United States for the same purpose of travel, you may be able to obtain a visa without coming to the consulate for an interview. Click here to learn more

Step 2
The next step is to complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.Be sure to read the Guidelines for Completing the DS-160 Form carefully. All information must be correct and accurate. Once the form is submitted, you cannot make any changes. If you need assistance, please consult an immigration lawyer or translator. The call center cannot help you complete your DS-160. You will need your DS-160 number to book your appointment.

Note: If denied visa previously please complete a new Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 3

Once you have determined the correct visa type and completed the DS-160, you must pay the visa fee. The visa fee page lists the visa types and correlating visa fee in US dollars and native currency.

To pay your visa fee, read the Bank and Payment Options page. This page explains how to make your visa fee payment. You will create a profile and must keep your receipt number to book your visa appointment

Step 4

You are almost ready to schedule your visa appointment! Now you will need to login to your profile with the same credentials you used to pay your visa fee. Once you are in the system, you will see your dashboard.Click on Schedule Appointment on the left-hand side menu. This will start the process for scheduling your appointment.

You must schedule two appointments, one for the Visa Application Center (VAC) and one for the visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate.

First, schedule your visa interview appointment at the Embassy or Consulate.

Second, schedule your appointment at a Visa Application Centre. This appointment will allow you to go to one of the five Visa Application Centre locations to have your fingerprints and photo taken. This appointment must be at least 1 day before your visa interview appointment at the Embassy or Consulate.You will need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment:

  • Your passport number
  • The date you paid your fee
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

As you go through the process you will be able to select your visa type, enter personal data, add dependents, select your document delivery location, confirm visa payment, and schedule your appointment.

Step 5

For your Visa Application Centre appointment, you will need to bring:

  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with validity dates 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.
  • Your DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Your appointment confirmation page.
  • One photograph as per U.S. visa specifications if the applicant is under 14 years of age. See the Photos and Fingerprints page for more details.

Step 6
Following your visit to the Visa Application Centre to have your photo and fingerprints taken,you will then visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. You must bring : 

  • A printed copy of your appointment letter,
  • Your DS-160 confirmation page 
  • Your current and all old passports
  • 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.
  • Supporting Documents as per your visa type

Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

Note: Children under 14 years of age are not required to attend the appointment at the Visa Application Centre or visa interview at the Embassy/Consulate. Accompany/Guardians/Parents can carry the above documents

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 U.S. Embassy/Consulate in a sealed envelope. The U.S. Embassy/Consulate 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 letter from your company's headquarters and/or your seamen's book.

More Information

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