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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 submit the following:

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 webpage 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"x2" (5cmx5cm) photograph taken within the last six months.taken within the last six months. This page has information about the required photo format.
  • A receipt showing payment of your US$160 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, paid in local currency. This page has more information about paying this fee. 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 will need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment:

  • Your passport number
  • The receipt number (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 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

Application without those documents cannot be proceed.

Attention: Anyone needing expedited service in processing their C1/D visa should apply only in Warsaw (not in Krakow).

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.

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 in a sealed envelope. The U.S. Embassy 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.

  • 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.)
  • For crew: a letter from your company's headquarters and/or your seamen's book

Crew visas vary according to the type and location of work to be performed.

Mariners

C-1/D visas are issued to crew members required for the normal operation and service of a vessel. In determining whether a crew member qualifies for the C-1/D visa, we take into consideration the individual's responsibilities and activities on the ship. Thus, such crew members must present a seaman's book and a letter from an agency and/or cruise line confirming their employment on board a vessel. The letter should include the name of the applicant, detailed information on the purpose of the trip, the length of contract, name of the ship, location of the ship, complete itinerary of the ship, job description, and the crew member's rank/position.

Dry Dock Workers and Service Engineers

Crewmen who are to service a vessel in dry dock require the appropriate work (H-2) visas unless the work is being done under warranty in which case, they qualify for the B-1 visa as Service Engineers .

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Employees

Employees of units operating on the Outer Continental Shelf require a B-1 OCS visa. For the purpose of application they need a U.S. Coast Guard letter of exemption for the vessel or individual(s). OCS workers already in possession of a valid B1/B2 visa do not need to apply for a new visa and may travel with a copy of the Coast Guard letter to explain the purpose of a trip at port of entry. If they prefer having an annotated B1 (OCS) to avoid more rigorous immigration inspection, they may apply for that specific visa, but their B1/B2 visa will be cancelled.

Private Yachts

If you will be working on a private yacht sailing out of a foreign port and cruising in U.S. waters for more than 29 days, you require a B-1 visa.

Holidays

If you wish to remain in the United States for a holiday after your period of employment, you will be required to apply for admission as a visitor on a B-2 visa.

Dependents of Crewmen

Dependents of crewmen (D) visa holders who are accompanying the alien to the U.S. may be eligible for B-2 visas.

More Information

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