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Embarking on a journey across the seas or soaring in international skies, crewmembers play a pivotal role in the global transportation industry. For these essential professionals, navigating the complexities of immigration law is as crucial as charting a course through turbulent waters or bustling airways.

Designed for those who keep our global transport systems running, this guide illuminates the path from application intricacies to compliance necessities. Whether you're a seasoned captain steering a mighty vessel or an aviator charting the skies, this guide is your compass to understanding and successfully acquiring a D Visa. Let's embark on this journey together, unlocking the knowledge to navigate these critical waters with confidence and expertise.

Visa Sponsorship

Overview of the Crewmember Visa (D Visa)

The Crewmember Visa, also known as the D Visa, is specifically designed for individuals working on commercial sea vessels or international airlines that operate to and from the United States. This visa category is tailored for roles such as pilots, flight attendants, ship captains, deck crew, and other essential personnel required for operating vessels and aircraft. It is a non-immigrant visa, meaning it's intended for those who plan to enter the U.S. temporarily.

Eligibility Criteria for the D Visa

To qualify for a D Visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:

The Application Process for the D Visa

The application process for a D Visa involves several key steps:

  1. Form DS-160: Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
  2. Documentation: Gather necessary documentation, including proof of employment and a passport valid for at least six months beyond your stay in the U.S.
  3. Interview: Schedule and attend a visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  4. Visa Fee: Pay the applicable visa application fee.

Understanding the C-1/D Visa for Transit and Crew Purposes

In cases where crewmembers need to transit through the U.S. to join a vessel, a C-1/D combined visa is required. This caters to crewmembers who are both passing through and working in the U.S.

The C-1/D Visa serves a dual purpose:

This combined visa is practical for crewmembers who frequently travel through the U.S. to reach their vessel or aircraft stationed in other countries.

Duration and Limitations of the D Visa

The D Visa typically comes with the following conditions:

  1. Duration of Stay: The visa usually allows a stay of up to 29 days in the United States, matching the crewmember's work schedule.
  2. No Extensions: Extensions of stay are not permitted under the D Visa.
  3. Limitations on Activities: The visa restricts holders to specific crew functions on the vessel or aircraft and does not permit other types of employment in the U.S.

Entry and Departure Requirements for D Visa Holders

For D Visa holders, specific entry and departure requirements must be adhered to:

  1. Entry Documentation: Upon entry into the U.S., D Visa holders need to present valid documentation, including their D Visa and proof of their role as crewmembers.
  2. Departure Compliance: Crewmembers must depart the U.S. with the vessel they arrived on or another vessel within the allowed period of their visa, typically 29 days.
  3. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inspection: Crewmembers may undergo inspection by CBP officials to verify their purpose and duration of stay.

Working Rights and Restrictions Under the D Visa

The D Visa permits work only in the role of a crewmember on a specific vessel or aircraft. It does not allow for any other type of employment within the U.S.

Adjustments of Status and Change of Visa Category

The possibility of adjusting status or changing visa categories for D Visa holders is limited:

Dealing with Visa Denials and Inadmissibility

Common reasons for D Visa denials include:

Renewal and Extension of the D Visa

Renewal and extension procedures for the D Visa are as follows:

  1. No Extensions: The D Visa does not allow for extensions beyond the allowed stay period.
  2. Renewal Process: For a new assignment or continued employment, crewmembers must apply for a new D Visa following the standard application process.

Important Considerations for Crewmembers

Crewmembers on a D Visa should also consider the following:

  1. Health Insurance: Since healthcare in the U.S. can be expensive, obtaining adequate health insurance coverage is advisable.
  2. Understanding U.S. Laws: Familiarize yourself with U.S. laws and regulations, particularly those affecting your work and stay in the country.
  3. Maintaining Legal Status: Ensure compliance with all visa conditions to maintain legal status during your stay.

For individuals in the sea and air transportation sectors, the D Visa is an essential requirement for legally entering and working in the United States. Understanding the nuances of this visa type, from application procedures to compliance with its terms, is key to a successful application and stay in the U.S.