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B1 Visa
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 10:01 AM
Joined: 20/10/2011
Posts: 3

My girlfriend and I just applied for the B1/B2 US visa in our home country of South Africa. During the interview process the lady barely listened to us, she interrupted us and proceeded to issue us with a B1 (business) visa instead of the B1/B2 for which we applied, even though we said we were going to be travelling to the US for pleasure. We then tried to contact the US consulate who told us to email them, we did and we received what looked like an automated response saying that we would need to go through the entire process again. This is not really an option for us right now so here we are stuck with a 10 year B1. We will be delivering a yacht from Cape Town, South Africa to Tortola, BVI and then hopping over to St Maarten to look for work. We were then hoping to go over to Ft. Lauderdale in the US from the Caribbean at some point. My question to anyone who may be able to help is: (1) Will we still be able to enter the US and (2) what papers will we need to do so bearing in mind that we currently have no work over there and will be hoping to find work in Ft. Lauderdale. Any advise will be appreciated.
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 6:39 PM
Joined: 07/10/2011
Posts: 39

hi , sorry i have no reply for that, but next week i have an interview for b1b2 in Durban, is that difficult to get one ? i don t have a captain s letter yet, but i work in a cruise line , hope that will be enought , Should i tell them, i ll go there yachts or leisure? Thanks , and good luck with your visa issue.
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 11:59 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277



There are many legitimate reasons to travel to the US on a B1 visa only - see this partial list:


One of them could be to attend FLIBS (since it is an international "trade fair" )


The down-side to entering on a B1 may be a shorter permitted length of stay (and probable requirement for proof of proposed activity and a return airline ticket).






Claire Tucker
Posted: Friday, October 21, 2011 5:03 PM
Joined: 20/01/2009
Posts: 1

I have a B1 visa cos I sailed here from cape Town with a dellivery....and so far I have been in and out of the US 4 times on the visa....without any problems...i actually tell them at the visa point that I am here to check in with the crew agencies and I am looking for a non US flagged vessel to work on....perhaps just like u!! I re-entered last week and they gave me 6 months on the B1 works just fine!! Enjoy the 10 years...also the consulate told me that he was entering more info onto the computer so the immigration has less to ask at the airport on the US its works out GREAT!!! Be Happy!!

Posted: Friday, October 21, 2011 5:22 PM
Joined: 28/10/2008
Posts: 26

Rod is right about having to have a business reason to come to the USA on the B1 visa and that the duration of stay would most likely be much shorter than for the B2 - that is IF you fly here. IF you happen to come here on a yacht as "permanent paid crew", then you are entering on the B2 part of your visa - the business is being a paid crew member on the "visiting yacht" and you would enter on the crew list of that yacht. However, if you leave that yacht while in the USA, you would then have to leave the USA because your entry would no longer be valid. CBP will problaby ask you why you are comming to the USA for business if you enter by air and how long you will be doing this business. Then the I94 card which is what determines the duration you are permitted to stay will be stamped with an appropriate time associated with your "business visit". You will have to show them your flight ticket out. It must have a specific date on it - not openended and not too far in the future. DO NOT LOOK FOR OR DO DAYWORK IF YOU ARE IN THE USA. That is ILLEGAL to do and CBP is out and about sending foreign crew out of the USA who are here on B1 and B2 or combo B1 B2 visas Doing daywork or even suspected of looking for it. My suggestion is to get the correct B1 B2 visa. Do not jump the gun especially if you are short of cash because, if you are entry level, it may very well take you a long time to find work. There are so many crew out there looking for work who have the correct B1 B2 visa and certifications that captains and owners will choose them first. Be aware, St. Maarten/Martin is now scrutinizing South Africans entering the island so make sure you have all of your "i" dotted and "t" crossed before you take this leap.
Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 5:48 PM
Joined: 20/10/2011
Posts: 3

Thanks for the feedback - I appreciate the concern and understand that it is a risk to enter the US and look for work, however my options are limited and I will have to make do. I am thinking of skipping St Maarten and heading straight over to Ft. Lauderdale as I have heard that it is damn near impossible to walk docks, or even get near the dock in St Maarten. Yachting is my passion and I MUST make it work. If there is any other advice that can be given regarding the B1 and finding work as a South African please let me know. Cheers.
Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 6:31 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100

Lloyd - I have a 2 year old B1/B2 that is damaged and because it is damaged, I need to replace it. I am due at the Embassy in 3 weeks time. At the time of booking the guy mentioned the B1 and I told him I needed a B1 /B2 as my girl is American and we do go on holidays. He said something along the lines of the B1 was fine for entry for my personal visits. I will clarify with a call and let you know. Now, a long standing disagreement between visa posters on this site - needing to be employed. The UK embassy website specifically states for Yacht Crew that you must have a letter stating your employment when you apply for the B1. Of course it's logical really, why would you apply for a B1 (working) visa if you didn't have work? Bring on the nay sayers
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