USA Visa For Crewmembers: C1/D visa guidelines

If you're a crewmember working in the transportation industry, whether on a commercial airline, cruise ship, or cargo vessel and planning to visit the United States, you'll need a C1/D visa.

This article will provide comprehensive instructions on obtaining a C1/D visa and what you need to know before applying.

Table of contents

What is a C-1/D visa?

A C-1/D visa is a type of U.S. visa issued to crewmembers working on a vessel or aircraft in international transportation. It combines two categories: C-1, a transit visa for individuals passing through the U.S. en route to another country, and D, a crewmember visa for those employed on board a sea or air vessel.

C-1/D visa requirements and rules

These are the criteria C-1/D visa applicants have to meet:

According to US authorities, crewmembers who enter American waters with a C-1/D visa must depart the US on their vessel within 29 days at the latest. Departure is when the ship leaves a US port for a port outside the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the American Virgin Islands. You must enter and leave the United States from the same seaport or airport you arrived at.

To apply for the visa, the ideal situation is that the applicant is listed as a crewmember of the airline or ship and has a letter from their employer confirming their working relationship. The applicant cannot receive any payment from a US-based company or entity.

C-1/D visa application process

In general, here are the steps for applying for a C-1/D visa:

  1. Complete the DS-160 application form online with your data, travel details, and photo;
  2. Schedule a visa interview. Before your interview, you will be required to pay the application fee;
  3. Gather required documents;
  4. Attend your visa interview.

Documents required for C-1/D visa application

Here are the documents required:

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C-1/D visa fees

The visa fee is the same as most nonimmigrant visas: USD 160. Starting May 30, 2023, the American visa cost will increase to $185.

C-1/D visa interview questions

Some of the common questions asked during the interview include:

The consular officer may also ask follow-up questions based on the applicant's responses to these initial queries. The interview aims to verify the applicant's intent to leave the US after their authorized stay and to ensure that they meet all the eligibility requirements for the C-1/D visa.

C-1/D visa waiting time

The waiting time for interview appointments depends on the workload of the consulate or embassy you’re applying to. As for the decision, usually, they are given after the interview, but be ready if the officer needs more time and details to decide.

For how long can you stay in the US with a C-1/D visa?

The C-1/D visa duration depends on the purpose of their visit and the visa's validity period.

Typically, C-1/D visa holders are granted permission to enter the United States for up to 29 days or until the departure of the vessel or aircraft they arrived on, whichever is shorter. However, if the individual needs to stay in the United States longer, they may be able to apply for an extension of stay or a change of status to a different visa category.

It's important to note that the length of stay granted at the port of entry is at the discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. They may grant a shorter or longer period of stay based on the circumstances of the individual's visit.

Can you travel to the US as a tourist on a C-1/D visa?

No, a C-1/D visa is not valid for tourism purposes in the United States. In that case, you must apply for a B1/B2 visa. But you can apply for C1/D and B1/B2 visas at the same time. In this case, you need to pay only one consular fee. In the DS-160 form, you must select both visa categories and specify one primary purpose of travel.

How long is a C-1/D visa valid?

This visa is valid for a maximum of 29 days, after which crew members may have to get a B-1/ B-2 visa.

How to renew a C-1/D visa?

To have this visa reissued, you must apply using DS-160 and pay for the fee again, practically through the same process with an embassy or consulate. However, if the renewal applicant fulfills certain requirements, such as lack of US visa refusal within the last 12 months and a criminal record may qualify for an interview waiver.

C-1/D visa restrictions

You are not eligible for a D visa in the following cases:

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