Are you a crew member of an airline or ship?
Is the aircraft or ship that you work for intending to arrive in and exit from the U.S.?
If you have answered “Yes” to both the questions above, then the D-Visa will likely be the appropriate visa for you! The D-Visa category is intended for foreign crew members of aircraft, merchant and cruise ships, and other sea-going vessels which are arriving in and exiting from the U.S.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR A D-VISA?
All foreign crew members qualify for a D-Visa, as long as their services require traveling to the U.S as passengers to join a vessel or an aircraft. Applicants for this category must show that:
- The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for crew-related business or transit;
- They plan to remain for a fixed period;
- They have a residence outside the U.S. and other binding obligations to ensure their return abroad after the trip.
- Employees onboard a ship whose services require traveling to the United States as passengers to join a vessel or aircraft for regular operation.
WHO IS CONSIDERED A “CREW MEMBER” FOR THE PURPOSES OF D-VISA?
Some examples of “crew members” for a D-Visa are as follows:
- Musicians and onboard entertainers
- Chefs and cooks
- Flight attendants
WHAT “SERVICES” ARE CONSIDERED “REQUIREMENTS FOR NORMAL OPERATION”?
The Consulate considers different factors in determining whether the services of a foreign crew member are required for regular operation on a vessel or aircraft. Factors such as the foreign crew member’s responsibilities and activities on the ship are considered in the issuance of a visa.
WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO SHOW?
For a D-Visa, you will require:
- Your current passport;
- Proof of your ties to your home country (e.g., bank statements, lease/mortgage agreement, utility bills, evidence of investments);
- Proof of your residence, which you do not intend to abandon, in your home country.
Ship and airline crewmembers also need an original letter signed by the employer on stationary letterhead showing:
- You are employed with that company;
- What position you hold and your responsibilities;
- When you will be in the U.S., including which ports of entry and exit shall be used;
- The name of the vessel or aircraft;
- The purpose of travel.
RESTRICTIONS ON THE D-Visa
Arrival and exit from the U.S. on a D-Visa is limited to crew-related business or transit. Some basic restrictions on the D-Visa are as follows:
- You cannot apply for an extension of stay in the U.S. on a D-Visa. If you wish to reenter the U.S., you must reapply for the visa after six months;
- You cannot apply for a change of status or adjustment of status in the U.S. on a D-Visa;
- You may not study in the U.S. while on a D-Visa;
- You are authorized to work in the U.S. only for the vessel for which you have received the permission.