April 13, 2016
Transit/Ship Crew Visas
Overview Transit (C visa)
A citizen of a foreign country traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States enroute to a foreign destination requires a valid transit visa. Exceptions to this requirement include those travelers eligible to transit the U.S. without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program or travelers who are nationals of a country which has an agreement with the U.S. allowing their citizens to travel to the U.S. without visas.
If the traveler seeks layover privileges for purposes other than for transit through the U.S., such as to visit friends or for sightseeing, the applicant will have to qualify for and obtain the type of visa required for that purpose, such as a B-2 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 the D visa.
Crew members who work aboard vessels within the Outer Continental Shelf, may qualify for a modified B-1 visa in lieu of a crew visa.
Crew members who will be entering the United States during time-off between flights or cruises 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.