C1/D Crewmen Visa for USA
The C1/D Crew member/Transit Visa is a non-immigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States as a passenger to join a vessel or aircraft.

D1 visa: For crewman serving aboard a vessel or aircraft in any capacity that will land in the U.S. to enter the U.S., except U.S. based fishing vessels. Persons on a C1/D visa would be admitted into the U.S. up to 29 days.

D2 visa: For crewman serving aboard a fishing vessel with a home port or base of operation in the U.S. and is only available if the fishing vessel is temporarily visiting Guam. Persons on D2 visa may stay in the U.S. for a period of 6 months.

Crewman may obtain an individual visa, or may be included in a crew list visa.

All foreign crew members are eligible for a D visa. Crew members may include pilots, air hostesses, flight attendants, stewards, seaman, or employees on board a ship whose services are required for normal operation while traveling to the U.S., as passengers to join a vessel or aircraft.

The Consulate considers the alien's responsibilities on the ship to determine whether the services of a person are required for normal operation and service on board a vessel. e.g., a beautician or a lifeguard employed on board a luxury liner, an electrician employed on board a cable ship, or a chemist employed on board a whaling boat is classifiable as a crewman.

Spouse or dependent children accompanying a crewman entering the United States, and not performing services required for normal operation of the vessel or aircraft, must obtain a B-2 visa, unless such dependent is planning to enter the United States for a purpose that would necessitate a different classification or qualifies under the visa waiver program. Visa waiver program is only available to those who enter the U.S. aboard a participating carrier. Many shipping companies are not participating carriers.

D2 visa
In order to qualify for a D2 visa, you must serve in good faith in any capacity on board a fishing vessel that is required for normal fishing operation and service. Also, you must intend to land temporarily and solely pursue your calling as a crewman and depart from the U.S. with the fishing vessel on which you arrived.

Dry Dock
Crewmen who are to service a vessel in dry dock require the appropriate work visas unless the work is being done under warranty in which case, they qualify for the B-1 visa.

Private Yacht
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 need a B-1 visa.

If you wish to remain in the U.S. for a holiday after your period of employment, you will be required to apply for admission as a visitor on a B-2 visa. However, if you enter the U.S. aboard a cruise liner which participates in the Visa Waiver Program you may be eligible to enter visa free. You should check with the cruise liner before traveling.

C1D and B1/B2 Dual visa
If you would like to get the C1/D and B1/B2 dual visa, you can request the Consular officer about at the time of the interview. The Consular Officer might accordingly ask you to pay the additional fees for the same. However, granting or rejection of the visa is at the sole discretion of the officer.

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.

Following documents are required for C1D visa:

Mandatory documents
  • Passport

  • One photograph

  • Confirmation page of online submitted Form DS-160 with CEAC bar code.

  • Visa fees
    Fees to be paid in advance before taking an appointment.

  • Original interview appointment letter and one copy.

  • Original Company or Employer letter.

  • Dependents:
    • A company letter from the principal applicant's company along with a copy of the valid C1/D visa.

    • Original birth certificate for each child below the age of 14 years.

    • Dependents joining their seafarer spouse on-board ship may bring a copy of their spouse's visa and proof of relationship; e.g., original marriage certificate, wedding album etc.

    • If the principal applicant is currently in the home country, the original passport bearing the C1/D visa should be brought, instead of a copy.

Supporting documents
  • Photocopies of the first page, address page and last page of your current passport.

  • Evidence of ties to the home country. e.g.
    • Bank statements

    • Lease/mortgage agreement

    • Utility bills

    • Evidence of investments

  • Category specific
    • Ship Crew
      • A comprehensive, original, signed letter from the employer on letterhead stationery (original) addressed to the U.S. consulate/embassy confirmation:
        • confirming the employment with the company

        • period that the applicant will be in the U.S.

        • name of the vessel

        • date and port of entry

        • date and port of exit

        • job position

        • the company's financial responsibility while the applicant is in the U.S.

        • nature and function of the crew member's position

        • purpose of travel

        • local agent's name and address in the U.S.

      • Copies of employer work records

      • CDC Card

      • Documents like Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC), Letter of employment and travel authorization from the Shipping Company or Agent, and certificates establishing the seaman's qualifications are also recommended.

    • Airline Crew
      • Original letter from the airline

Visa applicant must demonstrate that:
  • The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for crew-related business or transit;

  • They plan to remain for a specific period;

  • They have a residence outside of the U.S. as well as other binding obligations which will insure their return abroad at the conclusion of their trip.

Reciprocity Issues
A combined C1/D visa may not be issued sometimes because of reciprocity issues.

When the reciprocity schedule lists the same number of applications and period of validity for both C-1 and D visa, a combined C1/D visa may be issued.

When the reciprocity schedules for C-1 and D visa differ with regard to the number of applications or period of validity permitted in each category, the consular officer shall issue separate C-1 and D visa, and an application and fee must be collected for both visas.

While on D visa, the following restrictions apply:
  • You may not be involved in fishing (exception: on D2 visa, you may be involved only in fishing), and the ship's home port must be in the U.S.

  • You must land in and depart from the same port as part of your crew duties.

  • You can't apply for extension of stay on D visa.

  • If you want to reenter the U.S., you must apply for the visa after six months.

  • You can't apply for change of status or adjustment of status while on D visa.

  • You may not study in the U.S. while on a D visa.

  • You are authorized to work in the U.S. only for the vessel for which you have received the visa.

  • You may not apply for a green card while on a D visa.

  • You are generally prohibited performance of long shore work at U.S. ports. To seek an exception to this rule, an employer must file an attestation stating that it is the prevailing practice for the activity at that port, there is no strike or lockout at the place of employment, and that notice has been given to U.S. workers or their representatives.

Crew List Visa
Master or agent of any vessel arriving in the U.S. must fill the Form I-418 that lists the names of all crew members who don't have individual visas or alien registration cards (green cards) to obtain a crew list visa. Original Form I-418 must be filled in only through column 3; leave column 4 and 5 blank. A copy of Form I-418 should be filled in completely with columns 4 and 5 completed. The form will be accepted even if the captain has not signed it.

If the vessel plans to make 2 or more calls in the U.S., submit an additional copy of Form I-418 for each entry into the U.S. If additional crewmen are signed on after the original list is issued visas, a supplemental crew list should be prepared and submitted.

You must also submit the following for the crew list visa:
  • Crew list in alphabetical order with full names, with their dates of birth and passport numbers in Form I-418

  • Job description of crew members

  • Itinerary of crew members

  • Passports of crew members

  • Name, address, phone and fax numbers of an agency company in the U.S.

  • Name, registry number and flag of registration of the vessel

  • U.S. port and date of entry

  • Last foreign port of call and date of departure before entry into the U.S.

  • Next foreign port of call (ship's itinerary)

  • Type of vessel and purpose of entry

  • Method of salary payment

  • Qualification certificate and proof of prior travel as seaman (work-books, certificates, prior passports etc.) are required for vessel crew members applying for the first time or/and with new passports

Crew member visas are multiple entry visas valid for 2 years and the fee must be paid for each crew member.