Crew Member Visa

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We have a wide range of U.S nonimmigrant visas and each of them has a specific purpose. If you are a foreigner who is going to the United States for a short period, depending on the reasons for your visit, you will need a visa.

As for working-class people, there are various categories of visas designed for them and one of such visas is the crewmember or D visa. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know concerning the C1/D visa.

What is a Crewmember Visa?

Crewmembers also known as D visas are U.S nonimmigrant visas designed for people who work on either commercial sea vessels or international airlines that go through the United States.

The sea vessels and airlines must pass through the United States and make brief stops for them to have normal operations.

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Furthermore, with a D visa, the crew are permitted to go through the United States and spend a maximum of twenty-nine days.

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Nevertheless, in a situation whereby the crewmember first has to travel to the United States and then board the vessel or airline, it means that they need a different visa for that purpose which is a combination of a transit or C-1 visa and a D visa also known as a combination C-1/D visa.

You are permitted to stay in the U.S only for 29 days with either of the aforementioned visas. You are expected to exit the country within that timeframe. Furthermore, the D visa has numerous restrictions like:

  • Extending your stay is not permitted;
  • You are not permitted to work for any other company except the vessel or airline you were in;
  • You are not permitted to register in a study program;
  • You are not permitted to apply for a change in status;
  • You are not permitted to apply for a Green Card;
  • You must enter and exit the United States in the same dock or airport;
  • You can only apply for the visa after six months if you wish to enter the U.S again after leaving;
  • You are not permitted to do longshore work on a D visa;

What are the Requirements for the C1/D Visa?

There are a few requirements you are expected to fulfill before you can get the D visa, however, the first and most important of them all is that you must be working on a vessel or airline traveling to the United States and only passing through. In addition to this, you are considered eligible for the D visa:

  • If you are a flight attendant or pilot on a commercial airplane;
  • If you are a captain, deckhand, or engineer on a sea vessel;
  • If you are a lifeguard, cook, waiter, or other supporting staff on cruise ships;
  • If you are a trainee on board a training vessel;

In a situation whereby you are going to perform the following duties listed below, you are ineligible to get a D visa:

  • If you are performing dry dock duties like repairs while the boat is docked on a United States port;
  • If you are on a fishing vessel that has a homeport or an operating base in the United States;
  • If you are a substitute coasting officer;
  • If you are working on a private yacht that will be docked in the United States for more than twenty-nine days;
  • If you are a crew member on a vessel going to the Outer Continental Shelf;

If you find yourself in any of these categories, we advise you to get a B-1 visa instead of the D visa while we recommend that you apply for an H-2B visa if you are on a fishing vessel.

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How can I Apply for the Crewmember Visa?

You must go through the steps listed below for you to apply for the crewmember visa:

The first step is to file Form DS-160

This is the major form used in this case and it can be found online. In this form, you will be

provided with basic background questions and reasons for wanting the visa. Upon submission, you will be issued a confirmation page and you must save this page for later.

The second step is to pay the visa fees

You are required to pay the visa fee to be able to apply. The application fee for filing Form DS-160 and other applicable fees are all included in the visa fee. Also, you may be required to pay reciprocity fees but this is hinged on the relationship that the United States has with your country. 

Furthermore, the fee can be paid online or via money order and check and unless you complete this step, your visa will not be processed.

The third step is to prepare your supporting documents

To increase your chances of getting the visa, you must have a file containing supporting documents. You are expected to take these documents along with you for your interview, and the documents that should be in the file include:

  • Your valid passport;
  • A photo that can meet the Standard Photograph Requirements for a U.S visa; 
  • The Form DS-160 confirmation page;
  • Receipts that will serve as proof that you have paid all the fees;
  • The confirmation page of the interview and one copy;
  • A letter which explains the reason for your trip get from either your company or employer
  • You must present proof of ties to your home country like family documents, property deed,  job contract, or  lease that serve as proof that you have no intentions of staying in the United States for a period longer than 29 days;
  • A letter obtained from your employer must include the following details:
    • Name of the vessel;
    • Period of time you will be in the United States.
  • Date and port of entry;
  • Date and port of exit;
  • Your job position describing your duties;
  • You’re salary while you are in the United States.

We are yet to exhaust the list because the U.S Embassy has the right t request extra documents and you have to be prepared to have any document they might request just to make your visa application stronger.

The fourth step is to schedule and attend your visa interview

You are expected to schedule an interview with the U.S Embassy in your home country if you are between the age of 14 and 79 years old for nonimmigrant visas. Upon successfully

scheduling the interview, you will get an interview confirmation letter containing the time, date, and location of your interview.

Also, please ensure that you attend it at that specific time because failure to do so will lengthen the application and processing time. At the U.S embassy, an official will interview you by asking you questions about your background and application, and do not forget to come along with all your supporting documents for the interview.

What Can Be Said To Be The Processing Time for the Crewmember Visa?

The visa processing time is quite fast only if you have all the needed documents and excelled in the interview. You will receive the decision of the U.S Embassy. Within three to five business days or up to 2 weeks state that your visa was either approved or denied. 

If the former is the case (approved), your passport will be sent to your mail within one or two weeks, however, this time frame is dependent on the caseload that the Embassy in your country has. You can commence your travel preparations once you receive the passport. You shouldn’t start making travel arrangements without knowing your status; whether you got the visa or not.

In a situation whereby your visa was denied by the Embassy, you will b sent a letter giving you reasons for their decision. It may likely be a result of incomplete documents or mistakes in the application. With this, you can correct such mistakes when reapplying for a visa. If you attempt to exit your country without a valid D visa, you will be immediately deported, and there are chances that the vessel you work for will not be permitted to dock in U.S ports in the case of all the crewmembers not having a valid visa.

How Long is the Crewmember Visa Valid?

As we stated earlier, the crewmember visa is only valid for twenty-nine days and you are expected to exit the United States within that time or you face legal risks such as getting deported or arrested by authorities.

A D visa cannot be renewed or extended instead you are permitted to apply for the visa again maybe six months after you exit the United States on your last D visa.

How Much Does the Crewmember Visa Cost?

The cost of the D visa depends on where you are from therefore the exact amount is not known. Nevertheless, a general overview of the fees is stated below as follows:

  • Form DS-160 filing fee – $160;
  • The Visa issuance fee depends on the country you reside in and the reciprocity measures in place.

Is it possible for me to bring my family to the U.S with a Crewmember Visa?

The answer is no because the D visa is not for family members unless they are carrying out important work on the vessel or airline that you are also in as well, then they can apply for the D visa. That being said, the spouse and children of the crewmember require different visas or they can accompany you with a valid tourist visa.

In conclusion, this article is indeed an expository one and we hope to have given clarity to all the questions you may have to pertain to the Crewmember visa.

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