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British passport holder applyign for B1/B2 in Paris
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 3:28 PM
Joined: 25/10/2008
Posts: 2


Are you British and have applied to the US Embassy in Paris for a B1/B2 visa recently??

I am flying into Miami mid-October with no specific job lined up as yet, with a return flight booked to the UK for 3 months later .  I have my STCW95 and ENG1 and I will be staying in Fort Lauderdale to network and look for work for the winter season. I would like to organise a B1/B2 visa before my arrival as a safeguard. 

I am wondering since I won't have papers for a specific boat/job whether it is: better during my appointment with the consulate in Paris to openly state my intention to look and gain employment on a boat in the US (I have satisfactory paperwork to qualify my 2 years in the industry as a stewardess)  , or to simply say I will be a tourist for more than 3 months whereupon they stamp me in on the B2 tourist part of the visa and then once I get a job there, return with the boat papers and get stamped in B1 business status??? 

The problem with the latter option is that 1) my booked flight  denotes I will be staying for less than 90 days (so immigration might ask me why I am applying for a B2 when as a UK passport holder I qualify for the Visa Waiver Program) 2) when I present bank statements they may not think I have a sufficient amount of funds for a "tourist-related" trip of longer than 3 months anyway. 

I have been told that as long as I state clearly my intention to work, I shouldn't have a problem, even without boat papers. How hard IS it to get this visa? ?

Any fellow Brits out there who have undertaken a similar route to get themselves over to the States/Caribbean would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 5:03 PM
Do not ever mention the works "looking for work" ever never ever.
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 8:44 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277

Has anybody tried this approach when applying for a US visa?


1) I have a problem.

2) I am a merchant mariner who works on non-US (i.e., foreign flagged) private and charter yachts (here is my Seaman's Book with my qualifications and work history, plus other standard supporting documents).

3) Since I am neither a US citizen nor a US Landed Immigrant, if I wish to visit the US, I am required to have the appropriate visa (usually a B2 tourist visa) or 90-day visa waiver.

4) The private and charter yacht industry has two major seasons when they hire new or replacement crew. The summer season hiring usually occurs in April and May in the Meditterranean. The winter season hiring usually occurs in October and November in southern Florida (especially around the time of the FLIBS).

5) When foreign flagged vessels visit US waters, the crew must have a valid entry visa (usually a D1 Crew visa or a B1 Business visa).

6) The D1 Crew visa does not allow crew on yachts to stay for longer than 29 days (and, depending on the USCIS processing officer, may not be allowed at all for private yachts).

5) When foreign flagged yachts are in US waters and if the yacht's visit is going to be longer than 29 days, the crew must have a B1 business visa. Most foreign flagged yachts visiting the US during the winter season stay longer than 29 days.

6) The hiring managers for foreign flagged yachts that wish to operate in US waters for longer than 29 days at a time, will not usually interview and/or offer jobs to crew who do not already have a B1 visa. In addition, they usually will not offer a position to any seaman without personal interviews by the captain and/or senior crew.

7) I wish to obtain work on a foreign flagged yacht for the winter season which means I will need to visit Florida for personal interviews with the hiring managers or captains.

7) Unfortunately, I have a chicken and an egg problem. i.e., no job no visa and no visa no job.

8) A multi-entry, dual use B1/B2 business/tourist visa (as described in the attached support letter) would allow me to solve this problem. Can you help me?


Dockwalk article which references the support letter (and for further discussion on the issue if you are interested):

Scroll down to the post added by Lauren:

"Here's the link to the MIASF site for the current (visa application support) letter: (From this page) Go to (the pdf document found by clicking on) Boating/Industy Info/Document Library/MIASF Crew Visa Letter."


BTW: Yacht crew are not the only ones with this problem ;o))



There are documents that the State Department uses when adjudicating visa applications - here are links to a couple (see the three sections I have extracted that I believe relate to most crew visa applications).


This one for entry on B1 visa as crew

9 FAM 41.31 N9.5 Yacht Crewmen

(CT:VISA-701; 02-15-2005)

Crewmen of a private yacht who are able to establish that they have a

residence abroad which they do not intend to abandon, regardless of the

nationality of the private yacht. The yacht is to sail out of a foreign home

port and cruising in U.S. waters for more than 29 days.


This one for entry on B2 visa as tourist to attend FLIBS

9 FAM 41.31 N13.3 Participation in Social Events

(CT:VISA-701; 02-15-2005)

Aliens participating in conventions, conferences, or convocation of fraternal,

social or service organizations.


This one for entry on B2 visa as tourist for FLIBS and to attend one week STCW courses

9 FAM 41.31 N13.6 Short Course of Study

(CT:VISA-701; 02-15-2005)

The following annotation is to be placed in the 88-character field of the visa

for aliens coming to the United States primarily for tourism, who also

incidentally will engage in a short course of study during their visit: STUDY


Posted: Monday, September 27, 2010 10:18 PM
Joined: 25/10/2008
Posts: 2

What happens if they ask me what I do for  a living?  If I fail to mention my intentions for looking for work, surely they will assume I will be doing this anyway if I tell them my intended destination (FL - i.e. yachting capital fo the world) and then wonder why I lied???!

ANY confirmation on thsi would be most welcome, getting v.confused answers - some say you should openly state your intention to work, others don't. 

Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 3:36 PM
Try Arjan apartments in Barbados the lady who rents the apartments can help you with most of the paperwork since she did that for years. Try Google, B1 B2 visa Barbados, make sure you have a letter from a captain (try just one letter for one trip to the USA) and make a list of countries visited the last ten years etc. Complete list is on their website. For British citizens it's not a big deal since you passport already allows you to visit the states (that's different with the green mamba passport)
Rusty Wrench
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 10:22 PM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207

With reference to entry into USA (or any other seafaring nation) for individuals in possession of a 'Seamans Discharge book' (and it really is your possession as opposed to a passport...) A Seaman's Discharge Book is a government issued document which identifies the holder as a bonefide 'seafarer' whose full time occupation is of course at sea. Also, if a copy of the official crew list is provided, showing proof the SDB holder is indeed on the crew list, along with a copy of vessel registry, your entry will not be denied. It has been a time honored, internationally agreed standard to allow the free passage of registered seafarers in the interest of efficient international commerce. Nothing moves in this world without ships or without the mariners who operate them.
Rusty Wrench
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 10:26 PM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207

And another thing... When applying for B1/B2 at any US Embassy with your Passport, Seaman's Discharge Book, crew list and a begging letter from the captain & copy of ship's papers etc, you will have success.
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 10:49 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277

"R"usty "W"rench ,


The issue for Ninja123 is entry to the US from a Visa Waiver country without a job (and the requirement to have a B1 visa once a job is obtained) .


I tripped across this when looking for another thread. It could be very useful in this situation (i.e., applying for a B1/B2 without a "Captain's Letter" - remember this Henning? - simpler is better):

"Henning  Posted: 09 August 2010 13:51   
Tell the truth. "I work on yachts and I understand that I need a B1/B2 visa should I be arriving on a yacht." The less you try to BS, the better off you always are."




P.S. Ninja123 - That simple sentence on your B1/B2 visa application along with a copy of the MIASF Crew Visa Letter should do the trick.


Rusty Wrench
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 11:26 PM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207

rodsteel. Perhaps you missed my point; My discussion was in reference only to the benefits of holding a Seaman's Discharge Book. The original poster would have been denied entry after admitting they are seeking work on a boat...regardless of anything. You seem to be confused, quoting 'visa waiver' entry and 'B1/B2 entry by sea', no sense there... What is your point?
Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 5:41 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277

Rusty Wrench,


Your point about the Seaman's Discharge Book was a good one.


However, my point concerned Ninja123's initial question. Ninja123 does not have a "Captain's Letter" to support a request for a US B1 Business Visa (which is required to work on yachts sailing in US waters for longer than 29 days).


In addition, Ninja123 is a UK national and therefore, because of the mutual Visa Waiver Program, does not need a US B2 Visitor's Visa to travel to the US for tourist purposes. Unfortunately, many agents and/or yachts require prospective crew to have at least the B1 and preferably a B1/B2 combination before they will offer employment.


The US State Department is the issuing agency for visas (usually at US Embassies or Consulates). The US Citizenship and Immigration Service is the authorizing agency for entry to the US using such visas (usually at US marine terminals and airports). Two different entities with two different mandates.


Thus, my suggestion to Ninja123 that they follow Henning's advice to tell the truth to the State Department when filling out the visa application form (i.e., I work on yachts, I am required to possess a B1 visa when any yacht I am working on intends to enter US waters for longer than 29 days).


Assuming Ninja123 successfully obtains a B1 visa from the US State Department, independent of whether they are also issued a B2 visa, if they do not have a Captain's Letter of employment and they wish to visit the US, they should only request from the processing USCIS official, at the airport port of entry, authorization to enter the US as a bona fide tourist (with valid supporting documentation if asked). In addition, while in the US under tourist entry status, they should behave appropriately and discretely (e.g., no solicitation of day-work).




Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011 9:20 PM
HELP........ Sorry if I am being stupid here I am trying to get the forms to get a B1/B2 visa and finding it impossible. I have contacted Immgration Direct paid them but they have been having tec problems and I do not have the paper work.. now they are sending me a refund, I just want to be legel whilst working, but I can understand people getting annoyed with all the loops. Does anyone no a direct way to get the paperwork???
Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011 10:00 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


The US State Department has changed the procedures for submitting B1/B2 visa applications. It is now all done on-line.

If you want to see the type of information they used to ask for here is the old form (DS-156)



Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 9:56 AM
Joined: 28/02/2011
Posts: 4

If you have a visa and you fly in to miami for a 3 month vacation are you expected to use the b2 of your visa part or VWP if you qualify for that as it is valid for 90 days. Also will they ask to see bank statements to see if you can afford a 3 month vacation?
Posted: Monday, March 28, 2011 6:51 PM
Joined: 25/03/2011
Posts: 1

They definitely ask for bank statements and other stuff. They want to see if you have enough money to stay in the country for those 3 months mainly because you won’t have permission to generate any extra income in that period. I used to work on a Business jet charter company with office in Fort Lauderdale. I stayed in the US for more than 3 years and with everything legal. The big thing about it is follow everything by the book and do it in advance.
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