Transit/Ship Crew Visas

 

FAQ

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Overview

 Crew Members (C1/D) Visa Overview

If you are a member of an airline crew performing duties related to the operation of an aircraft on international flights to and from the U.S., or if you are a member of a ship or other vessel that will call at a U.S. port, you may qualify for a crew visa.

Transit (C visa)

A citizen of a foreign country traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States en route to a foreign destination requires a valid transit visa. Exceptions to this requirement include those travelers eligible to transit the U.S. without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program 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 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.

Visa Types and Required Documents 

 C1/D (international airline crew members)

C1/D and/or D visas can be issued to the crew members of international airlines. The required document package must be stapled together in the following order:

  • DS-160 confirmation page with uploaded photo (including hard copy photo). Please do not include the instruction pages of the DS-160.
  • A letter from the employer confirming employment and requesting a crew visa.
  • International Airline Crewmember ID (a copy and/or an original).

The documents must be accompanied by an international passport.

If a document is not listed, it is not required. Please do not submit the documents in files, folders, or binders.

C1/D (crew members of merchant vessels)

C1/D visas can be issued to crew members who provide for the normal operation and service of a vessel. In determining whether a crew member qualifies for the C1/D visa, consular officers take into consideration the individual's responsibilities and activities on the ship. The required document package must be stapled together in the following order:

  • DS-160 form with uploaded photo (including hard copy photo). Please do not include the instruction pages of the DS-160.
  • Crew list.
  • Valid contract, and/or letter of employment for ship personnel.
  • Seaman’s ID book.

The documents must be accompanied by an international passport.

If a document is not listed, it is not required. Please do not submit the documents in files, folders, or binders.

C1/D (cruise ship personnel)

Employees of cruise lines can qualify for the C1/D visa. The required document package must be stapled together in the following order:

  • DS-160 confirmation page with uploaded photo (including hard copy photo). Please do not include the instruction pages of the DS-160.
  • Letter of Employment.
  • A valid contract from concessionaries, if applicable.

The documents must be accompanied by an international passport.

If a document is not listed, it is not required. Please do not submit the documents in files, folders, or binders.

 B1 (contract workers)

Contract workers who work on board a vessel, but do not meet the definition of "crewman" because the work they perform while on board the vessel is not required for the normal operation of the vessel, are considered passengers and may not qualify as a crewman eligible for a D visa. Contract workers, who are contracted by the shipping company to perform a function/service on the vessel en route to the United States, may be issued a B1 visa.

CBP will require these contract workers to be in possession of a B-1 visa for admission. Examples of contract workers are: guarantee/warranty engineers, carpenters, painters, or certain classes of entertainers in possession of nonimmigrant work visas. Work (other than service of a guarantee/ warranty nature) cannot be performed by contract workers while the vessel is in dry dock, but can be performed at sea once the ship has left  port. The required document package must be stapled together in the following order:

  • DS-160 confirmation page with uploaded photo (including hard copy photo). Please do not include the instruction pages of the DS-160.
  • Crew list.
  • Valid contract, and/or letter of employment for cruise ship personnel.

The documents must be accompanied by an international passport.

If a document is not listed, it is not required. Please do not submit the documents in files, folders, or binders.

 B1 (dry dock workers and warranty technicians)

Crew members who are to service a vessel in dry dock require the appropriate work (H2) visas unless the work is being done under warranty. In this case, they qualify for the B1 visa as warranty technicians. The required document package must be stapled together in the following order:

  • DS-160 confirmation page with uploaded photo (including hard copy photo). Please do not include the instruction pages of the DS-160.
  • Crew list.
  • Valid contract, and/or letter of employment.

The documents must be accompanied by an international passport.

If a document is not listed, it is not required. Please do not submit the documents in files, folders, or binders.

 B1 (outer continental shelf (OCS) employees)

Crew members going to work on the Outer Continental Shelf need to apply for a B1 OCS visa.  Applicants will need to present a U.S. Coast Guard letter of exemption for the vessel or individual(s). However, we advise applicants that it is preferable to hold a B1 annotated visa to avoid a more rigorous immigration inspection. The B1/B2 visa would then be cancelled; applicants can apply separately for a B2 visa for tourism. Applicants applying for two visas, C1/D and B1 OCS, will be charged two MRV fees. The required document package must be stapled together in the following order:

  • DS-160 confirmation page with uploaded photo (including hard copy photo). Please do not include the instruction pages of the DS-160.
  • Valid contract, and/or letter of employment.
  • US. Coast Guard letter of exemption for the vessel or individual(s).

The documents must be accompanied by an international passport.

If a document is not listed, it is not required. Please do not submit the documents in files, folders, or binders.

B1 (TWIC™ applicants)

All workers who will later need to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC™) from TSA must present a letter from their employer stating that the TWIC™ is required to perform the individual’s job in the maritime industry.

Two separate MRV fees must be paid for the combination of a C1/D and a B1 visa with TWIC™ annotation. The required document package must be stapled together in the following order:

  • DS-160 confirmation page with uploaded photo (including hard copy photo). Please do not include the instruction pages of the DS-160.
  • Letter from employer requesting issuance of a TWIC™-annotated visa.
  • Seaman’s ID book.

The documents must be accompanied by an international passport.

If a document is not listed, it is not required. Please do not submit the documents in files, folders, or binders.

B1 (private yachts)

Crew members of private yachts should apply for a B1 visa regardless of the nationality of the yacht. The yacht is to sail out of a foreign home port and cruise in U.S. waters for more than 29 days. The required document package must be stapled together in the following order:

  • DS-160 confirmation page with uploaded photo (including hard copy photo). Please do not include the instruction pages of the DS-160.
  • A valid contract from the owners of the yacht, if available.
  • A letter from the employer/yacht owner in the U.S., specifying the:
  • Applicant's name, rank/position, anticipated date and location of arrival.
  • Employer/yacht owner's full address, phone and fax numbers.
  • Tentative Vessel Itinerary on which the crew member will serve.

 The documents must be accompanied by an international passport.

If a document is not listed, it is not required. Please do not submit the documents in files, folders, or binders.

B2 (dependents of crewmen)

A spouse, child, or other alien who wishes to accompany a crewman entering the United States must qualify independently for another visa classification, such as B2.There is no visa classification for dependents of D visa holders.

Duration of Stay

Crew members on a C1/D visa can be admitted into the U.S. for up to 29 days. A C1/D visa holder may not overstay this 29-day period. If a crew member wishes to remain in the United States for a holiday after his/her period of employment, he/she will be required to apply for admission as a visitor on a B2 visa.

Applying for C1/D and B1/B2 Simultaneously

Those applying for C1/D and B1/B2 visas simultaneously will be charged only one MRV fee for the issuance of the combination of C1/D and B1/B2 visas. Both visas must be applied for at the same time in order to qualify for the single payment. Please note that two separate MRV fees must be paid for any other combination for example C1/D and B1 or C1/D and F1.

Only one application with the attached photo must be submitted outlining both purposes of travel.

Qualifications

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.

How to Apply

Step 1

Pay the visa application fee.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

  • Your passport number.
  • The receipt number from your Raiffeisen Bank Aval receipt. (Click hereif 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 on the date and time of your visa interview. You will need to bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one recent photograph, your current passport and all old passports. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

More Information

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