US : Yacht crew visas

Though the summer season remains some time off it is not too early to start considering the visa requirements for yacht crew. It is important to note the US Department of State do not have a dedicated visa for yacht crew, however the following visa types should be considered for yacht crew spending all or part of the summer in US waters;
  • B1 visa for  individuals visiting the US temporarily on business;
  • B2 visa for individuals visiting the US as tourists
  • B1/B2 combined visa
  • C1/D combined visa which covers both yacht crew and a visa for transit;
In most cases, the combined B1/B2 visa is deemed the most appropriate all-round solution. It is a non-immigrant visa for those wishing to enter the US temporarily and allows crew to carry out their duties on board and spend time ashore on leave or for vacation. The B1 part of the visa covers those wishing to enter for business purposes and the B2 part for pleasure or tourism. The B1/B2 visas are multi-entry and usually issued for 1, 5 or 10 years, allowing for stays up to 180 days in any one visit.

A C1/D visa is designed for those crew members boarding a vessel or airplane in the US for normal operational purposes with a set itinerary, or for those crew transiting the US en-route to another country. It is important to note that a C1/D visas is only issued for crew who will be departing the US by plane or vessel within 29 days of arrival.It is particularly important that crew currently based in the Mediterranean on a commercially registered yacht ensure  they obtain the correct visa for a private yacht as the yacht will need to change to private registry  before entering US waters. Although the vessel may be registered as commercial or pleasure, for US purposes all yachts are classed as a private means of transport, therefore yachts entering US waters must do so as a pleasure [private] yacht.

Individuals must apply for the correct visa that accurately reflects the vessel’s status and length of intended stay in the US. All applications must be supported with the correct, in-date documentation and supporting vessel papers.

For more information, please contact Shelley Dowie

Rosemont Yacht Services & Management can assist yacht Owners from the outset with the recruitment and management of the necessary qualified crew to meet the minimum safe manning requirements for the vessel. Learn more about our Yacht Crew Administration services here.