Crewmember visa type D

Among the non-immigrant visas for the USA we find the crewmember visa type D. In this article you will find an updated guide with all re requirementes and up-to date information about this type of visa in 2020.

People who for a work reason need to stay for some time in the country require this visa. We are referring to aircraft or ship crews who need to temporarily stay in the United States.

The type D visa includes pilots, co-pilots and other flight attendants, as well as people working on board commercial sea vessels. For a private boat, it can be requested by the ship’s captain and the rest of the on-board service personnel.

Ship and airplane crews in some cases may only need a D visa. But there are times when for work reasons they may also require a transit visa type C. In that case it is better to apply for a combined C-1 / D visa that includes both benefits.


If you or a family member needs to apply for any type of visa, Lluis Law immigration attorneys can help you. Just make a phone call to our offices in Los Angeles and we will offer you a free consultation.

What is the crewmember visa of type D?

As its name implies, the crew visa is exclusively for personnel on board ships and aircraft. It also covers doctors and nurses, cooks, waiters, cleaning personnel, maintenance, bartenders, recreators, beauty and more.

A D visa is only valid for entering the United States for the purpose of working as a crew member on the ship. If you apply for a C-1 / D visa, then you can also take a short trip within the city or work area.

Crew visas are divided into two categories: D-1 and D-2 visas:

D-1 visa

There is no D visa as such, instead we find a D-1 and D-2 visas, therefore, the D1 type visa is the same as the crewmember visa.

D-2 visa

It is a visa that is used for members of a crew that enter the U.S. and depart on a different ship or plane than the one they arrived at. Those who depart on the same aircraft commonly need the D-1 visa.

Likewise, for people whose boat is in a dry dock (maintenance) or is a fishing boat. Fishing vessels that have their home port or operate from the USA also require this visa.

That is basically the biggest difference with the D-1 visa. Also if your destination is the outer continental shelf. Like the D-1 visa and Type C visas, its duration is only 29 days.

D-1 and D-2 visa

What is needed to apply for the crewmember visa Type D?

The requirements to apply for a crew visa or a transit visa are basically to demonstrate that:

  • The intention of the visa is to fulfill the purpose for which it is being requested. In this case, integrate the crew of the boat or aircraft that will depart from the USA.
  • There are sufficient funds to cover travel and accommodation expenses in the country.
  • Remaining in the USA will only be for a short period of time.
  • You have authorization to enter the destination country from the United States.
  • You do not intend to work in the United States and receive compensation from a U.S. employer. Unless you have also obtained a temporary work visa.

Regarding documentation, it is necessary to submit:

  • Work cover letter specifying the position that you held within the crew.
  • Commercial travel ticket or any other evidence of travel to the final destination.
  • Electronic visa application through Form DS-160.
  • Valid passport with a validity of at least six months after the requested period of stay in the USA. Dependents also need to file a Type D visa application.
  • Recent applicant’s photograph 5cm x 5xm (2 “x 2”).
  • Receipt of payment of the visa fee of S $ 160.

After filling out form DS-160, you must print the confirmation sheet issued by the embassy. This document should be taken to the interview with the immigration officer on the day of the scheduled appointment at the embassy.

In what situations do the crew need another type of visa?

In the following working conditions inside a boat, the crew may need another type of visa. Let’s see:

  1. Dry dock. Although they can apply for a D-1 visa, the personnel of a boat under repair can also apply for a B-1 visa.
  2. Official inertia. This means the replacement of the personnel of a foreign ship when they go on vacation with other foreign workers. Depending on the case, you can apply for a crew D-2 or B-1 work visa.
  3. Private yacht. Members of the crew of a private boat that sails the waters of the United States for more than 29 days. You can apply for a B-1 visa.
  4. Fishing boat. Members of a fishing crew whose base of operations is in the USA can apply for the D-1 visa. They also apply in some cases for an H-2B or H-1B work visa if the stay is for more than 29 days.
  5. Exterior Continental Shelf. For crew members remaining on the Outer Continental Shelf the B-1 visa is also valid.

What is a C1 / D visa?

The C1 / D visa is a non-immigrant visa known as a crew / transit visa. It is used by cruise ship workers to transit and embark in the United States. The procedure and documentation to apply for this visa is similar to that used for a C1 or type D visa.

It is a visa whose validity is also for a limited period. It cannot be used to legally work in the United States in a company other than the one indicated in the application.

For example, a cruise ship doctor or waiter cannot work ashore for a different American company. It also does not allow extending permanence within the U.S.

Who can apply for the D or C-1 visa?

Generally speaking, everyone (not US citizens or residents) who works as a crew on an airplane or vessel. These people include: airplane and cruise pilots / captains, commercial and private airline flight attendants. As well as all the cruise staff.

Can I apply for a D visa even before working on a cruise or airline?

Yes, this is possible. But before entering through a U.S. port of entry you must have been employed by the airline or shipping company.

What type of visa do cabin crew need?

The correct visa for the cabin crew of a commercial aircraft is the C-1 / D transit visa. This visa is mandatory for all crew members on international airlines and shipping companies. The C-1 / D visa is granted to crew personnel so that they can legally carry out their work activities.

aircrew member

Is it possible to apply for a double C1 / D and B1 / B2 visa?

Yes, this is an option. At the time of the interview at the country’s consulate or embassy, ​​you can ask for it to the the immigration officer. He / she will tell you if you qualify for this type of double combined visa. If he thinks that this is appropriate, you will only be requested to pay the additional fees.

Are you looking for an expert immigration attorney?

If you need help applying for any of these visas, our immigration attorneys will be happy to assist you. We have specialized personnel who help you complete the forms and gather the necessary documentation.

We specialize in all types of immigrant and non-immigrant visas, including type D visas and type C visas. For more than 40 years we have helped hundreds of immigrants apply for and obtain permanent residence through family based immigration.

At the same time, being immigration lawyers specializing in deportation we take on difficult cases related to withholding of removal and cancellation of removal.