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Do I need a letter of employment for B1B2??
DMac
Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 2:13 PM
Joined: 25/09/2010
Posts: 3


ok, ive read through these forums trying to get a definitive answer to my question and have just got more confused. ..... Im in St Martin looking to go to Barbados or the Bahamas to get my B1B2 or C1D1 visa. Do I need a letter of employment or will they give the visa to me as a prospective crew member??????
Henning
Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 5:21 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Apparently the answer is "It depends". Some people get them without, some people are getting rejected. However, a letter can usually be obtained for the price of a couple of drinks to a captain. It's kinda silly though, if you don't have a job, you don't need either of those visa's, and once you have a job offer secured you get the letter and for $100 you fly to the Bahamas and back and get your visa on arrival. They actually do still do that I'm pretty sure.

Brett
Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 8:47 PM
Joined: 09/05/2008
Posts: 10


It will definitely help having a letter of employment and ships papers, more importantly if you are planning to work on yachts, you do not want a C1/D1 visa.


Jimbo
Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010 6:44 PM
Joined: 10/04/2009
Posts: 9


I am in the process of preparing for my interview at the Embassy in London

I emailed them and explained that I was in a catch 22 situation as I was not currently employed on a vessel, however they (The Embassy) require me to have a letter of employment

Meanwhile, a vessel may not even consider me for employment as I do not already have a B1/B1 and/or they are not prepared to wait the time it takes for me to obtain one

--
The Embassy suggested I provide evidence of the nature of my work, and my responsibilities and also provide references (both written & contacts) to back up my claims

I have also obtained a letter from a Captain I am about to undertake a transatlantic with stating he will require me to have a B1/B2 as he may continue my employment upon arrival

According to 'The U.S Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 9 - Visas' :

A visa is required for:

9 FAM 41.31 N9.5 Yacht Crewmen

Crewmen of a private yacht who are able to establish that they have residence abroad which they do not intend to abandon, regardless of the nationality of the private yacht. They yacht is to sail out of a foreign home port and cruising in U.S. waters for more than 29 days


So, the documents I am taking to the Embassy are:

  • My CV/Resume - To explain the nature of my career
  • References - To backup my CV/Resume
  • Certificates of my qualifications - To backup my CV/Resume

  • A letter from the Captain/Yacht Management Company that includes:
    • My full name + Passport Number
    • My terms of employment
    • My position aboard the vessel
    • The reason why a B1/B2 is required (U.S. Waters/Islands to be visited)
    • Explanation that the period in these waters is likely to exceed 29 days


My interview is this coming Wednesday 3rd November 2010 so I will report back as to whether I achieved obtaining the visa and also on any other topics that might arise during the interview!


Capt. T. Septembre
Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010 6:57 PM
Joined: 28/10/2008
Posts: 1




Ladies and Gentlemen,

A US B1/B2 Visa is a tourist visa, allowing a stay in the US, Virgins and PR up to 6 months at the discursion of the Boarder Agent. This is not a work visa. Presentation of a  letter of employment, USCIS has been rejecting the applications. You may work under a B1/B2 on very limited bases. This does not mean you can seek work. You must already be employed and are here to do research, business meetings, training, buy out another company, purchase merchandise (stores) for the foreign employer, purchase a vessel for a foreign employer, etc.

A crew member Visa is a more secure avenue to ship board employment for an extended time aboard a foreign  vessel traveling to and from or within US waters or US Flagged/registered/birthed/home port vessel for a non US citizen, (unless you plan to jump ship). In the case of a crew visa (which are not difficult), employment is essential.

I suggest you consult with an immigration attorney.

 

Regards,

Capt Tom



Anonymous
Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010 7:54 PM
Go here  http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1286.html  to find out all you need to about visas. One thing you should see is that as crew on a private yacht you need a B1 (temporary business) visa, but if it is a charter yacht then strictly you should have a C1/D which covers Transiting and Crewmember. I would stick with B1/B2 that way you can travel when you are off the yacht.

You do not need a letter of employment to apply but you must be employed when you enter. The letter cannot do any harm, if you have it with the application.

Anonymous
Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010 8:34 PM
The B1B2 visa dilemma only becomes an issue when you are silly enough to leave home without proper papers. So just like the old American Express Credit Cards adverts said, “Don’t leave home without them”. Failing to attain a B1B2 before you travel to the USA tells me you are just another person that’s discovered yachting. I just hope you have some valid skills and the right idea about this industry before you start handing out your resume.
bobmor
Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010 11:59 PM
Joined: 12/07/2010
Posts: 58


I don't believe there is a visa which authorizes a foreign national to solicit themselves for employment without a the intention to emigrate.Like anywhere, not just in US. In that case you would get temporary work authorization and then a green card. A b1/b2 is not appropriate for the unemployed and should be considered void upon release of employment. Therefore by definition a crew-member visa is the most appropriate for foreign national yacht crew. If you do own property in another country which you intend to return , you may easily file for a tourist visa to "travel " the USA. This day and age I do not think it appropriate to mix intentions with visa's. Your potential or talent as a professional yacht crew-member will not be of consequence to ICE.
Kate Lardy
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 2:47 AM
Joined: 24/07/2008
Posts: 22


A B1B2 is simply a multiple entry visa, either for tourists or for those who enter for business. It's not void upon release of employment as the post above says - it's not job specific at all.


The Marine Industries Association of South Florida has created a letter for crew to use when applying for this visa. The verbiage the letter uses is that it’s for employed crewmembers or "non-U.S. citizens wishing to be a crew member on a private foreign flag yacht cruising in U.S. waters or visiting for service or repair."

 

You can print out this letter for your application at www.miasf.org. Click on boating/industry info and then on document library on the bottom of the left side tabs; the document is listed under number 1. g.


Todd Dawes
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 8:24 AM
Joined: 17/11/2008
Posts: 18


(this is my personal experience)... everyone has different stories, opinions and experiences.. the visa is not a work permit, it is a business visa for crew on foreign flagged yachts that are cruising temporarily in US waters. Yes it is better to get it in your home country, yes the Bahamas is probably busier that elsewhere cos crew shot over there to get the visa if they don't have it prior, and finally no you don't necessarily need a letter of employment. My situation was different, as is everybodies, when I got my B1/B2 visa in Australia. The impression I have got over the years is that the embassy officials in the Bahamas etc know that you have flown over from the states and intend to fly straight back so have been somewhat more strict and harder in the past (this is all from word of mouth). I did my visa in Sydney (I am an Aussie), and it was easy… I had the visa in my hand within a week of booking my interview date, not having to wait for months. I booked my interview, flew down, spent 2 hours at the embassy and was all done. I never even completed the application forms completely, and on the day the interviewer put in some hand written notes in the empty spaces. my interviewers were friendly, kind, funny and very easy going, lucky I guess... ** I never had a letter of employment or a job offer, and had no plans to go to the US in the near future. I did have letters saying that I was returning to Australia and that I had ties back here… and had statement of my funds to support myself financially, but was never asked for any of them. I turned up, paid my money, went in and told the interviewer, that I was at some stage in the future, I may be working on a yacht that wished to travel to the US (and cruise in US waters). I also stated that having the visa is basically a pre-requisite for working on 90% of superyachts, and if you don’t have the visa you can’t even get an interview. He then asked me how long I had been in the industry and a little about my qualifications, and was checking to see if I was actually employable, and to see if my intention to work on yachts that are cruising in the US was ‘legitimate’. Now, I put off getting the visa for 2 years myself as I was under the impression that I needed a letter of employment, but the official that interviewed me realised that I needed the visa to even be eligible for an interview, let alone get the job. I also emailed the Sydney office asking if I needed a letter and was told no.. the info line was also very helpful and prompt.. and gave good advice. So this is why I say it is easy, but I have seen other friends do the exact same, walk in and get the visa very easy… I have also seen others WITH 'letters of employment' be denied… it depends solely on the discretion on the official on the day… *Knowing what the visa enables you to do and what it means will help… The visa has 2 parts, B1 and B2. The B1 is a business visa, not a green card nor does it allow you to work in the US, but allows you to be employed on a foreign registered yacht that is temporarily cruising in US waters. The B2 is a tourist visa and will ‘not’ allow you to gain employment on a yacht. Most of the time they come as a combined B1/B2… but make sure you get the B1 atleast. Another thing to avoid is getting a C1/D visa (I think that is the one), as this is more for crew of cruise ships. Most importantly, don’t lie… if you get caught that is it… blacklist… Also note that having the visa in no ways ensures that you will be granted entry upon arriving at the US border… you still need a reason to be given permission to enter and saying that you are going to look for work is NOT recommended… as you can not work in the US (but you can work on foreign flagged/registered yachts)… hence why people believe that you must have a job offer and letter of employment to get the visa. Good luck, any other questions please ask, as I may not have covered all you queries (or do some research yourself but email the embassy personally) cheers, Todd
bobmor
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 1:20 PM
Joined: 12/07/2010
Posts: 58


look guys and girls, there is no authorization you can get to solicit yourself inside the boarders of the USA, (short of immigrating) no way, I am ashamed of the maisf.org as they are now enabling the manipulation of the system. Won't get any more of my moneys, and I'll spread the word. Look , I would't come to your country with such expectations. please don't do so here. The way you all write about it as if you are entitled just blows my mind. If a prospective employer is interested in you , he/she can issue a letter and get you a visa post haste, otherwise you have no reasonable reason to hold a US visa or to enter the country. Read your visa and regulations and you will find that the b1/b2/ visa is employer specific and is not intended for an unemployed/ uninsured/ unlicensed / unexperienced/ unethical person to look for work in the us, that is solicitation and is not lawful for foreigners ,even those holding visa's any visa's.
DMac
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 4:09 PM
Joined: 25/09/2010
Posts: 3


Thank you all for your words of wisdom and advice. To Anonymous who posted on 29 October 2010 20:34, If you read my original post I am in St Martin and have not already entered the states. I tried to obtain a B1B2 visa in my home country of the UK before I left but they would not issue it to me without a letter or employment, hence my question about the chance of getting one in Barbados or the Bahamas prior to entering the states..... To everyone else, thanks again, I am going to wait until I have a job offer before chancing going to a visa interview...dont want to go all the way to barbados and be turned down!
rodsteel
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 9:28 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


bobmor wrote:
look guys and girls, there is no authorization you can get to solicit yourself inside the boarders of the USA, (short of immigrating) no way, I am ashamed of the maisf.org as they are now enabling the manipulation of the system. Won't get any more of my moneys, and I'll spread the word. Look , I would't come to your country with such expectations. please don't do so here. The way you all write about it as if you are entitled just blows my mind. If a prospective employer is interested in you , he/she can issue a letter and get you a visa post haste, otherwise you have no reasonable reason to hold a US visa or to enter the country. Read your visa and regulations and you will find that the b1/b2/ visa is employer specific and is not intended for an unemployed/ uninsured/ unlicensed / unexperienced/ unethical person to look for work in the us, that is solicitation and is not lawful for foreigners ,even those holding visa's any visa's.


bobmor,

 

You were recently a participant in a related discussion that refuted your contention (with respect to soliciting employment on foreign flagged yachts while visiting the US on a B2 tourist visa - high-lighted in bold) - why continue to propogate this disinformation?

 

Rod

 

http://www.dockwalk.com/Essentials/DockTalk.aspx?u=19100&g=posts&t=34784&m=30862


"Henning  Posted: 12 October 2010 12:14 


Well, speaking to the US market, that line of thinking is incorrect, that's how. There is nothing in the US Immigration law that says a foreign national cannot seek employment within the US, it just isn't there. They cannot work for a US entity within the US without the proper visa. They cannot work for a foreign entity within the US without the proper visa. Those visas are not the same. They can solicit work with a foreign entity within the US and they can solicit work with a US entity for employment outside the US all while in the US on a tourist visa. If they come to terms and accept an offer of a foreign entity within the US, they will have to exit the country and re-enter on the correct visa which in the yachting industry is typically a B1-B2 and enter under the Business terms.

Most of what you read and hear of "common wisdom" on US immigration law is not correct."

 

 

P.S. Would someone who is attending FLIBS stop by and ask the experts about this issue??

 

"(FLIBS) Running events:

all day, every day
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers will be at the U.S. Superyacht Association pavilion in the builders tent all day every day to answer questions and hand out information about clearing into the United States on a yacht, clearing into the United States at the airport, and the local boater option for U.S. citizens and residents."


Kate Lardy
Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010 1:58 AM
Joined: 24/07/2008
Posts: 22


I checked with Gordon of the MIASF today at FLIBS about the crew letter (see my post a few up). He did confirm that it was much better to have a job lined up before using the letter.


bobmor
Posted: Monday, November 1, 2010 12:08 AM
Joined: 12/07/2010
Posts: 58


Morality intended not misinformation. there is no way you can be monitored in the current system to just go around and solicit yourself on US soil. who is to say you won't misrepresent yourself and take a non foreign flag yacht job. no-one that's whom. This is why we cannot allow this further. there are thousands of once foreign crew-members now, some legal some not, in the shore based marine industry here in so, fl and our industry has been hi-jacked. I don't even want to go into day workers, now your gonna tell me they're all legal too? The majority of these so called foreign flag yachts are US citizens spending US earned monies and protecting them selves from liabilities as foreign entities. Sorry if we can no longer provide a stable of foreign labor for them as well. If they need to follow the rules and fly in there prospective liabilities savings i guess it will all work out in the wash. It's much better to have a job lined up because that's the rule. You may refute to your hearts content, it doesn't make you right. This is all opinion on this forum, if the poster wanted straight facts he could always go directly to the source. But then again that may be an issue itself. Not an issue I've ever or will ever have.
Chief
Posted: Monday, November 1, 2010 11:05 AM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


"Morality intended not misinformation. there is no way you can be monitored in the current system to just go around and solicit yourself on US soil. who is to say you won't misrepresent yourself and take a non foreign flag yacht job. no-one that's whom. This is why we cannot allow this further."

That has to be some of the most chilling writing I have seen since the Patriot Act. The only thing worse than a totalitarian government is a "moral" one.

I don't want to be monitored to and from work so the government will know if I meet someone it doesn't like, or if they believe it looks like I might stick up a 7-11 or claim to be a talent scout for MTV.

I would rather have a million illegal day workers than one person in the government prepared to do what you seem so ready to accept. Have you ever in your life read a history book?



bobmor
Posted: Monday, November 1, 2010 1:10 PM
Joined: 12/07/2010
Posts: 58


I'm not asking for a moral government , I'm asking this community to stop manipulating the system and outright breaking US laws, the patriot act has saved many lives, most likely yours, chief", I've read plenty of history, cant see where anyone promised you ex-patriots anything here. If you work here, use our services and enjoy our quality of life you must pay taxes here, most of you do not. this is not cool. Get used to it, I'm not going away , and I'm about to get in your face in real life, so be scared, your about to go home. Point is you don't belong here, your stealing someones income and your time is nearly up. We've reached critical mass with you scabs and we're ready to act. I am not alone, look around how those Americans dislike you because your pompous, like telling me to read history. You have no idea, soon you will.
Chief
Posted: Monday, November 1, 2010 8:44 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


Wow ...
Capt. Craig
Posted: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 5:31 AM
Joined: 16/02/2010
Posts: 4


Chief ... As a U.S. born N. American citizen. I stand ashamed of Bobmor. I can only say that our political system (which we voted for) is failing and we tend to blame whatever our elected officials or 'the media' tell us to blame! Regarding history - and our fear of illegal aliens? It should come as no surprise to anyone, after all, (when inconvenienced) there's nothing Mob Rule can't outlaw. Look what we've been doing to "illegal North American Natives" for 300 years!" Hang in ther Chief, and thanks for your informative posts!
MattSole
Posted: Friday, November 5, 2010 3:08 PM
Joined: 11/01/2009
Posts: 8


Wow Bob, getting a bit feisty there.
No need for that sort of talk. Lets get back to the original post.
DMac,

I was once in your situation and I have employed crew in you situation. The boat I run regularly visits the US and her territories. An experienced Captain who visits the US should not have an issue hiring you without your B1/B2 as long as you have some time before you enter the US.

There are a few different issues here.

1. Is the B1/B2 visa the right visa for Foreign crew on a foreign flag vessel?
 Yes. The alternative (C1D) is designed for flight/cruise ship crew. It allows you a maximum of 30 days in the US and during your time in the US you must be either about to join that particular vessel or about to leave the US on leaving the vessel.
The B1/B2 visa as stated else where is designed for foreigners to conduct business in the US for a foreign company on a temporary basis (B1) or be here as a tourist (B2). We as foreign yacht crew fall into the B1 area, sort of.  The B1/B2 allows you to visit the US for generally up to 6 months at a time. If yacht crew only had C1D visas the vessel would have to leave the US every 30days, which would be a complete nightmare.

2. Do I need a letter from a Yacht to get a visa?
Technically no. BUT and it is a big but. The US requires you to prove how you will fund your travels to the US. If you have $2000 in you account and want to visit the US, you will be denied a visa very quickly!
The letter from a Yacht shows that you have gainful employment with an adequate income during your visit to the US. Remember when you are on a foreign flagged yacht you are not working in the US you are working on the the foreign flagged vessel which happens to be visiting the US. Big difference.
The reason for all this is to make sure that during your time in the US you are not looking for work in the US or will become a burden on the US.

3. So how do I get a visa if I am not on a yacht?
Obviously having a B1/B2 visa in you passport will help a little with job prospects when a vessel who will be visiting the US is looking for crew. So the most legitimate way is as you explained before. Be honest and explain your situation, have copies of qualifications, if any as well as two letters of recommendation from upstanding citizens. Also state that you do not intend to visit the US using this Visa unless you are employed on a yacht.
Also as stated else where you can get a letter of a captain in St Maarten for the price of a few beers. Not strictly legitimate but will work.
Which method you use is your call. I would personally hang on until I had a job on a boat so it is all above board and you are virtually guarenteed a visa.

4. Can I visit the US with the Visa but no Job?
Yes you can but unless you have a ticket out or have papers stating you will be joining a foreign flagged yacht you will be denied entry.  Do not enter the US looking for work. This is illegal as is dayworking on any yacht foreign or US flagged. If you get caught you will be not welcome in the US for a very long time!

Good luck

MattSole
Posted: Friday, November 5, 2010 3:15 PM
Joined: 11/01/2009
Posts: 8


I failed to mention that in the Barbados office at least, they no longer offer the same day or overnight service. They will want to send you your passport by courrier. So once you have booked your Visa interview on the website, book a cheap hotel room for a week. You should get your passport back 5 days later. Barbados is not a bad place to hang out for a week! I think this policy is now worldwide but I can not  guarantee it.
My personal preference would be to visit the Barbados office. Trinidad and hundreds of people turn up per day and the Bahamas has quite a lot of yachties so they are likely to be less friendly.
Again good luck

Jimbo
Posted: Friday, November 5, 2010 3:22 PM
Joined: 10/04/2009
Posts: 9


Jimbo wrote:
I am in the process of preparing for my interview at the Embassy in London

I emailed them and explained that I was in a catch 22 situation as I was not currently employed on a vessel, however they (The Embassy) require me to have a letter of employment

Meanwhile, a vessel may not even consider me for employment as I do not already have a B1/B1 and/or they are not prepared to wait the time it takes for me to obtain one

--
The Embassy suggested I provide evidence of the nature of my work, and my responsibilities and also provide references (both written & contacts) to back up my claims

I have also obtained a letter from a Captain I am about to undertake a transatlantic with stating he will require me to have a B1/B2 as he may continue my employment upon arrival

According to 'The U.S Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 9 - Visas' :

A visa is required for:

9 FAM 41.31 N9.5 Yacht Crewmen

Crewmen of a private yacht who are able to establish that they have residence abroad which they do not intend to abandon, regardless of the nationality of the private yacht. They yacht is to sail out of a foreign home port and cruising in U.S. waters for more than 29 days


So, the documents I am taking to the Embassy are:

  • My CV/Resume - To explain the nature of my career
  • References - To backup my CV/Resume
  • Certificates of my qualifications - To backup my CV/Resume

  • A letter from the Captain/Yacht Management Company that includes:
    • My full name + Passport Number
    • My terms of employment
    • My position aboard the vessel
    • The reason why a B1/B2 is required (U.S. Waters/Islands to be visited)
    • Explanation that the period in these waters is likely to exceed 29 days


My interview is this coming Wednesday 3rd November 2010 so I will report back as to whether I achieved obtaining the visa and also on any other topics that might arise during the interview!


Further to my previous post, I have since visited the US Embassy in London

All went well initially, although I was asked to provide a more recent passport photo, but luckily they had a photo booth on site so that didn't take long to sort

Having dealt with all the basics and handed in all the correct forms and supporting documents (as listed above) I was then asked to wait for my number to be called out for my interview

I waited nearly three hours for my number to be called out and on arrival in the interview room was told by the consulat that I needed a police report to provide evidence that I had no criminal records. I  queried this and was told that it was on the list of requirements for those who had entered the US in the past (I did a one way delivery 5 years ago and had a flight booked to return home, but the US didn't like it so arranged an escort to my departure airport)

I have double checked the documents I received prior to visiting the embassy and there were no details mentioning the police report. So I am going to have to wait another 20 days to receive the police report, and then have it couriered to the Embassy where they will take another 20 days to process it

Let's hope the outcome is positive, I will update with my result

Dexter
Posted: Friday, November 12, 2010 3:24 AM
Joined: 11/10/2010
Posts: 5


Henning wrote:
... once you have a job offer secured you get the letter and for $100 you fly to the Bahamas and back and get your visa on arrival. They actually do still do that I'm pretty sure


Can anyone confirm this?

Cheffytrev
Posted: Saturday, December 4, 2010 11:53 AM
Joined: 04/12/2010
Posts: 1


Hello Everyone

I want to ask a question if i may. I have been offered a job with a major cruise ship operator in the US. I have been told by the company that i will require a CD1 Visa and to apply for one of my place of residents. The problem being is that i no longer live in Australia as i currently work in China. I will be leaving my job here soon and would like to apply for my visa in the Philippines as that is where my wife and son live. The question i am asking is can i apply for my CD1 Visa at any consulate throughout the world or do i have to go back to my home country to apply?

I have been to the us before and never applied for a visa in my home country because the last time i went to the States was when i was living in Ireland.

Your opinion of what you think is the correct procedure to take would be appreciated.

Best Regards
Cheffy

rodsteel
Posted: Saturday, December 4, 2010 7:13 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


Cheffy,

 

If you are going to apply in the Philippines, take a look at this link:

 

http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwhniv8.html

 

Rod

 

P.S. I believe all US Embassies will accept a non-immigrant visa application, however, the best Embassy for application is usually in the country of permanent residence, not necessarily the country of Citizenship (do you intend to make the Philippines your country of residence?).

 

 


 
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