Transit and Ship Crew Visas

FAQ

Overview
Transit

A citizen of a foreign country traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States (U.S.) enroute to a foreign destination requires a valid transit (C) visa. Exceptions to this requirement include those travelers eligible to transit the U.S. without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or travelers who are nationals of a country which has an agreement with the U.S. allowing their citizens to travel to the U.S. without visas.

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

Crew

A crewmember serving onboard a sea vessel or aircraft in the United States needs a crewmember (D) 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.

For crew members who work aboard vessels within the Outer Continental Shelf, a modified B-1 visa may be issued 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. (Note: Applicants who simultaneously apply for C-1/D and B-1/B-2 visas pay only one MRV 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 the transit journey.
  • Permission to enter another country upon departure from the United States.

Other C, D or C-1/D applicants must demonstrate to a consular officer that:

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

Application Items

Each applicant for a C, D or C-1/D visa must submit the following:

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 webpage for more information.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
  • One (1) 2x2 photograph.
  • A receipt showing payment of the non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee (the MRV fee) of US$160, paid in local currency. Please visit this page for information about paying this fee. If the visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on the applicant's nationality. Please consult the Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.

In addition to these items, every applicant must present an interview appointment letter confirming that they have booked an appointment through this service. Applicants may also bring whatever supporting documents they feel are necessary to support the information they are providing to the consular officer, for example evidence which shows the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the United States, and arrangements made to cover the costs of the trip. Those applicants who do not have sufficient funds to support themselves while in the U.S. must present convincing evidence that an interested person will provide support. Depending on individual circumstances, applicants may provide other documentation substantiating the trip's purpose and specifying the nature of binding obligations, such as family ties or employment, which would compel their return abroad.

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. Consular officers may consider the applicant’s specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law. In addition to these items, every applicant must present an interview appointment letter confirming that they have booked an appointment through this service. Applicants may also bring whatever supporting documents they choose to prove their qualifications. Evidence which shows the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the United States, and arrangements made to cover the costs of the trip may be provided. It is impossible to specify the exact form the documentation should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly. Depending on individual circumstances, applicants may provide other documentation substantiating the trip's purpose and specifying the nature of binding obligations, such as family ties or employment, which would compel their return abroad.

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 of concern, the applicant should bring the documents to the Embassy in a sealed envelope. The Embassy will not make this information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of the information.

Supporting Documents

  • Current proof of salary and/or income (original pay slips or most recent original J, EA, B or other tax forms).
  • Letter from employer detailing your position, salary, how long you have been employed with the company, the period of the authorized trip, and the purpose of your trip to the U.S.
  • Real estate lease or deeds.
  • Bank savings account books or other evidence of liquid assets that indicate the balance in your accounts and account activity.
  • Where appropriate, an itinerary and/or other information about your planned trip. (This can be tentative.)
  • For crew: letter from company headquarters and/or seamen's book.

Note: DO NOT fax, e-mail or mail any supporting documents to the Embassy. Applicants must hand-carry documentation to the Embassy for presentation to the consular officer during the interview.