C-1/D Visa

(Crew members of an aircraft/ship)

The C-1/D visa allows the crew members or employees of international airlines or (cruise) ships to enter on board their vessels for a temporary stay in the U.S. during the course of their work. 

The C-1/D visa is the visa issued mostly for such crew members as pilots, flight attendants, and ship and service personnel. In addition, beauticians or entertainers on board can also qualify for this category.

Other groups of persons who are not employed as crew members can apply for a B-1 visa under certain conditions. These include crew members who are responsible for maintaining the dry dock and who need to show a work arrangement for this activity. 

Anyone working on a private yacht who intends to sail for more than 29 days in American waters or through them will also require a B-1 Visa.

Entry Requirements

The applicant maintains his or her permanent residence outside the U.S. and intends only to travel to the U.S. for a temporary stay. In order to obtain a C-1/D visa, the traveler should ideally be listed as a crew member on the crew manifest of the airline or ship. In addition, the applicant must have a letter from the employer confirming their employment relationship with the airline or the (cruise) ship. The applicant must not receive any fees from the U.S. side or a U.S. company. 

In order to receive approval for your visa application, you must prove that your activity on board the ship qualifies as part of its normal operations. It is not necessary to specify that you are already employed on the application itself. However, you should have a contract that specifies that you will be employed on board the vessel in the future.

Crew members possessing C-1/D visas while serving aboard ships in U.S. waters cannot remain on the ship for more than 29 days without leaving these territorial waters. The U.S. authorities define departure from these waters as the departure of the ship from a U.S. port for a port outside the United States. The U.S. includes not just the mainland but also Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The nationality of the vessel on which the applicant crew member works plays no role in whether a visa will be issued.

Visa Validity

Usually C-1/D visas are granted for a period of 10 years and allow a maximum residence status in the United States of up to 180 days per entry (several times consecutively or at a time).  However, crew members on ships must leave the U.S. with their ship after no more than 29 days or depart from the U.S. by other means.

Application Process

Applicants must appear in person for an interview at one of the authorized U.S. consulates. In addition to the general application documents, applicants must submit documents pertaining to employment, the purpose of their entry, and other records confirming their intention to return to their country of origin. The application is usually processed at the U.S. consulate in the applicant’s country of residence.

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