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Thanks for tuning in, my name is Miatrai Brown, and I am a U.S. immigration attorney based in Washington DC. I am also the Principal Attorney at Direct U.S. Immigration where we work with clients in all 50 states and around the world. Before we start, click the like and subscribe button to follow our immigration hub to get the latest immigration information that could be vital to your case. And also, be sure to stick around until the end to get bonus information on what will happen if you present fake supporting documents.
All crew members of international airlines or personnel on ships and cruise liners must obtain a C-1/D visa if you intend to travel to the United States for a limited period of time as a crew member, and as part of your work on board.
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 to the U.S. without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program or travelers who are nationals of a country with an agreement with the U.S. allowing their citizens to travel to the U.S. without visas.
Suppose the traveler seeks layover privileges for purposes other than for transit through the U.S., such as visiting friends or sightseeing. In that case, the applicant will have to qualify for and obtain the type of visa required for that purpose, such as a B-2 visitor 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 a D visa.
Crew members who work aboard vessels within the Outer Continental Shelf may qualify for a modified B-1 visa instead of a crew visa. During time off between flights or cruises, crew members entering the United States should also obtain a B-1/B-2 visa to use during these personal/vacation days. Applicants applying simultaneously for both a C-1/D and a B-1/B-2 visa pay only one visa application fee.
Who needs a C-1/D Visa?
If you travel to the United States to join the vessel you will work on, you will need a C-1/D visa.
The C-1/D visa is the most frequently issued visa for:
- > flight attendants
- > captains
- > pilots
- > ship and service personnel
- > technician
- > any other worker on board a ship or aircraft
Typical applicants for the C1-D visa include sea vessel captains, engineers, deckhands, and cruise ship staff. The visa also covers trainees on board a training vessel, pilots, and flight attendants. Crew members on ships who travel to the U.S. on a C1-D visa must leave the country on their vessel within 29 days.
It is important to note that individuals are not eligible for a C1-D visa if their vessel is in a dry dock. The D-2 visa allows travel to the U.S. for those serving as a crewman on a marine vessel, who will depart on a different ship than when they arrived- such as if their original vessel is in dry-dock.
Those who are coasting officers or working on the outer continental shelf are also not covered by the C1-D visa. Employees of vessels or units operating on the Outer Continental Shelf require the B-1 OCS visa.
To apply for a transit visa, you must show the following:
- > 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.
Applicants whose crewing agents are members of the Crew Visa Program (CVP) should follow the instructions provided to them by their agent.
C-1/D Application Procedure
Applicants are required to appear in person at one of the responsible U.S. consulates for an interview. For example, in Germany, you can apply for a C-1/D visa at the U.S. consulate in Berlin, Frankfurt / Main, or Munich.
In addition to the general application documents, you should submit documents regarding the employment relationship, the purpose of entry, and the intention to return. The application is typically submitted to the U.S. consulate of the country in which the applicant lives.
You should bring the following documents to your interview:
- > Current proof of income, tax payments, property or business ownership, or assets.
- > A letter from your employer detailing your position, salary, how long you have been employed, any authorized vacation, and the business purpose of your U.S. trip.
- > Where appropriate, an itinerary and/or other information about your planned trip. (This can be tentative.)
- > Bank savings account books or other evidence of liquid assets that indicate the balance in your accounts and account activity.
- > Real estate lease or deeds.
- > For crew: a letter from your company’s headquarters and/or your seamen’s book.
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 long-range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.
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.
How long does the application take?
The processing time depends very much on the waiting time until the interview date. The availability of visa appointments depends, among other things, on the respective consulate or the season.
About one week after the successful interview at the U.S. consulate, the passport, including the C-1/D visa, will be sent to the employee by mail if opted for this option.
How long is the C-1/D visa valid?
The validity period of a C-1/D visa depends on the applicant’s nationality and is based on the reciprocity schedule.
For example, the C-1/D visa is normally issued for 10 years for German nationals, but validity per entry is much shorter. This means that a new visa would only have to be applied for again after the ten years have expired.
Duration of stay in the U.S.
With a C-1/D visa, a maximum stay in the United States of up to 180 days per entry is permitted, either several times or in a single block.
Note: The exception to this rule is crew members of ships. They have to leave the United States with their ship after 29 days at the latest.
As promised, here’s some bonus information that you may not know about:
Do not present false/fake documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. If confidentiality concerns you, you should bring your documents to the Embassy in a sealed envelope. The Embassy will not make your information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of your information.
I hope you found this video helpful. Subscribe if this content or information helps you in any way, comment below if you want me to talk about something in specific, and share this resource because you never know who needs answers to these questions. Additionally, if you have any specific questions about this video as they pertain to your unique circumstances, please schedule a consultation with us at the link below. I’ll see you in the next video.
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