Written by attorney Todd Eric Gallinger

How To Get a C-1/D Visa (Crew Member)

A C-1 Transit Visa is a non-immigrant visa for persons who are transiting the United States on their way to another country; a D visa is issued specifically to crew members; usually both are combined to form a C-1/D because it allows for a similar stay.

  1. The C-1/D visa are issued to crew members who intend to arrive in and exit from the United States with the same airline or on the same vessel
  2. C-1/D visas can be issued for individuals or the entire crew

  3. Eligibility

Applicants for Crew member visas must show that they qualify under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Applicants for Crew member/Transit visas must demonstrate they are not intending immigrants by showing:

    • The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for crew-related business or transit;
    • They plan to remain for a specific period;
    • They have a residence outside of the U.S. as well as other binding obligations which will insure their return abroad at the conclusion of their trip.
  1. General Application Process

    • Obtain a letter from employer confirming employment in shipping/airlines
    • Along with the letter, send in a passport/travel document valid for at least 6 months
    • One color passport type photograph
    • Documents showing intent to return to country of residence
    • Complete visa application form DS-156
    • Complete supplemental visa application form DS-157 (if applicant is over 14 years of age and under 80 and if they are nationals of certain countries)

Applicants aged 14 to 79 are required to appear in person before a U.S. consular office

  1. Restrictions

    • The visa only authorizes a crew member(s) to join a vessel/aircraft or enter and leave the US for short trips as part of their responsibilities as crew members
    • However, members are also allowed to visit friends, family, tourist sites, etc. so long as such activities are done within the authorized period of stay
      • If members wish to stay longer, they must apply for a B-1/B-2 visa
  • A crew member cannot be employed in connection with domestic flights or movements of a vessel/aircraft, but they are allowed to perform crew member duties through stopovers on an international flight for any U.S. Carrier where such a flight uses a single aircraft and has a destination outside the U.S.

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