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B1 / B2 Visas for work in US
Noemie
Posted: Friday, June 24, 2011 2:29 PM
Joined: 26/05/2011
Posts: 1


I am a UK citizen and have been told I need a B1/B2 to work on superyachts in the Caribbean. I am planning to fly to Fort Lauderdale at the beginning of October to find a job on a superyacht. I have booked an appointment at the US Embassy in London in a few weeks time to hopefully get my B1 / B2 combined visa but am concerned they will deny me the visa if I cannot prove I already have a job lined up. Has anyone had experience of this? From all the information I have read online and having spoken to various people it seems it is quite hard (especially being new to this type of work) to get a job before you get out there and meet the Crew Agents/Captains face to face.

Thanks


Lady Amelia
Posted: Sunday, June 26, 2011 9:07 PM
Joined: 13/07/2009
Posts: 2


Noemi The path to securing the B1/B2 visa is very well trodden. The are a number of pitfalls but they are relatively easy to avoid. I would be happy to share with you some of the resources we have gathered from our students. Many of whom have successfully managed to get the visa from various US Embassies around the world. Please contact me at info@yachtmaster.com if you would like further info.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 7:48 PM
Got my 10y B1B2 relatively pain-free fm Abu Dhabi w/no need of proof

Kev
Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 8:25 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 12


I would be extremely careful about entering the us with a b1/b2 if you are not on board a vessel already. A b1/b2 is not a permit to work or look for work in the us. It is not a substitute for a green card. It is specifically designed to allow younto legally enter the us on board a vessel that has a mandated purpose for entering us territory(chartering, verging, repairs, etc.) if you enter the us through airport customs with a b1/b2 and then hit the streets looking for a job, or if you dock walk, you are committing a crime. The first time you are caught you are forcibly deported and are not allowed to re enter us territory for 10 years. The second time, or, if a us federal judge decides you are knowingly committing a crime in the first instance, you are committing a felony and will serve mandatory prison time. Be aware that US Customs, Immigration and Customs Enforement and local authorities actively pursue crew attempting to obtain employment after entering the US with b1/b2 visa's that have been obtained while working on European based vessels. I don't suppose they tell you that in Abu Dhabi do they?
Kev
Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 8:34 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 12


Just to add. If you come to the us on board a vessel as crew, having obtained a b1/b2 in Europe to come with that vessel as crew (like crossing crew), then leave the vessel when it arrives stateside(because you were only hired for the crossing), then go out and start dock walking or seeking employment, you are committing a crime. What's more, authorities in Florida are totally hip to this routine and will not only arrest you, but the captain that brought you over here as well. I have personally seen this happen, so beware.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 8:58 PM
Dear Kev

Please change the record.  There are so many people trying to improve the ft Lauderdale Yachting economy through encouraging it as a destination for yachts and their crew that is is sad to see your comments. Leave immigration up to the immigration department and the law up to the judiciary, scaremongering is needless.

This year the Med is totally oversubscribed with would be yacht crew whilst here there is a shortage of good crew.  Clearly we need good crew here.  The sort of crew who invest heavily in the local economy.

The industry is changing, taxes are more difficult to avoid and visas and travel is more of a concern than it ever was.  But patrolling the forums like some digital minuteman scaring away the very lifeblood of the industry serves no-one but perhaps your misguided self.

There is no evidence that anyone has ever been deported for dockwalking.

Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 9:15 PM
i got my 10 year B1B2 and CI/D without any problems I am a UK citizen but I did have a letter of employment from a yacht without it you may struggle.B1B2 is only a visitors visa either on business or holiday in which you can stay for 6 months it does not allow you to work in US.The C1/D a seaman's visa that allows you to enter and exit the states multiple times they both go hand in hand the 2 visas together without the letter of employment i think you will struggle.your better to go as tourist on a visa waiver for 3 months if they know your looking for work they will not let you in.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 9:29 PM
i have a B1/B2 and C1/D visa I am a UK citizen that worked on a US flagged yacht ,I dont remember how many times I flew in and out of the states waving my letter of employment from a US dive cruise company we did a nice circuit in and out of US waters after 2 years as the engineer we relocated to Puerto Rico we got our customs check I was tld told I was not allowed to work on the yacht and was duly taken to the customs and border patrol office,held for 5 hours and given 7 days to leave the US....dont tell me they dont deport.
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2011 11:43 PM
"...here there is a shortage of good crew.  Clearly we need good crew here." Shortage of good (foreign) crew is a catch phrase for shortage of cheap (foreign) crew. Clearly, there is a large, under-employed pool of highly qualified American crew right here in America. I make it a point to forward every blog I read on this subject to my elected congressional representative as an example of how foreign nationals attempt to circumvent our immigration and visa processes. That being said, to the original poster; you DO NOT need a B1/B2 visa for travel to and work on yachts in the Caribbean. Just hop on a plane and fly to the Caribbean. Try Antigua. BA flys there direct from your home country.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 12:55 AM
I find it pretty shocking that there are people in the industry that encouraging crew to commit acts that are, in reality, against the law. Why would you encourage someone to do something illegal? Why would someone be so irresponsible as to actually say to an obvious new comer to the industry, in essence, "yeah......it's easy to break the law.....email me and I will tell you exactly how to go about it"
Janine
Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 2:54 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 392


As a point of reference, I pulled the paragraph below from a Dockwalk.com article, Unmasking the Truth: What’s the deal with B1B2 Visas?, in which immigration lawyer Elliot Norman was interviewed in order to debunk B1/B2 myths and clear up any confusion. Read the full article here.


Can a non-American with a B1/B2 visa look for work while in the States?
Yes is the simple answer.


Interestingly, it’s legal for crew to look for work while they are on holiday in the U.S., “Provided your primary reason for entering [the U.S.] was other than looking for work,” according to Norman. So crew lawfully in the U.S. in tourist status, whether carrying a 90-day visa waiver or a B1/B2 visa with an I-94 embarkation card stamped B2, indeed can register at an agency and look for work.


Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 4:43 PM
I'm confused. Read the quotation on the previous post. It says that it's okay for someone to sign up with crew agents while in the us on a b1/b2 visa, however, only if "your primary reason for entering the us was other than looking for work". So the way it reads is that, NO, if you enter the us on a b1/b2 visa with the PRIMARY reason of looking for a job it is not okay. Correct? You can sign up with crew agents from anywhere. Also, this addresses nothing about running the docks looking for work.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 6:55 PM
It's a loophole. Perhaps their primary goal is to look for work, but to obtain a B1/B2, you'd say you're on vacation. It's a loophole in the system, and a necessary one if Fort Lauderdale intends to continue to be a yachting hub. There are enough jobs out there for crew who are qualified and do a good job.

ratpack
Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 10:51 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100


You will NOT get a B1/B2 without confirmed employment. why do so many 'knowledgeable' people need to post anonymously??
Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 7:12 AM
How about the people that come here with no b1/b2.? They just enter the us with a 30 day visitor visa, go straight to the crew house and hit the streets looking for a job. Is that legal? Is it okay to do this if you hav a b1/b2? I don't think it is. But this is what is happening. 90 percent of the people in crew houses are most likely here under false pretences. Their ONLY reason for being here is to get a job. Period.
Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 2:40 PM
A B1/B2 visa, as per http://travel.state.gov/,  U.S. State Department: "The visitor visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2)."

You are stamped in on either a B1 or a B2, but if you say you are coming to travel and for tourism on a B2, then find a job, you must leave the U.S. then come back in on a B1.

Mike French
Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 4:36 PM
Joined: 06/05/2008
Posts: 57


I have been watching the discussion and want to inform people who are thinking of working in the yachting industry that there can be no doubt that the B1/B2 is a must have.  Even if you are looking for a job in the Med on a yacht bound for the Caribbean there is a fair chance that it will, at some point enter US waters in St Thomas or even Puerto Rico for example.  For this reason the B1/B2 is a qualification worth having.  If you dont have the visa you become a problem for any captain who may be called upon to visit US waters, so it is likely that someone with a visa will get the job.

What puts many off crew  visiting the US is the misnomer that you have to have a job before you apply for the B1/B2 visa.  This is not true, it is just 'crew house talk' and not based on fact.  IYT have helped upwards of ten of our students this year alone to get B1/B2 visas long before they have got a job.  This is a  fact so please stop with the "you need a letter from a captain BS". 

The important thing when applying is to be absolutely honest with the authorities.  They apparently do get quite a few people telling the stories that they think they should be telling.  I also have it on good authority that some pretty similar looking "Captain's Letters of Employment" have been used by different people to apply for the B1/B2 visa.

Whatever you view of protectionism and immigration the US government has determined that for the application of yacht crew members entering US waters, the B1/B2 visa is correct.  Again this is a fact and can be researched.  Yes there are stipulations regarding the status of entry but if you do not break the rules you have absolutely nothing to fear from the authorities.

The application process is common sense and as long as you use the right language and tell the truth you should have no problems getting the visa.  As I said we have seen a 100% success rate with the students we have seen applying for the visa.  Not one of them has told anything but the truth.

We have accumulated many resources from our students who have secured the B1/B2 and I make this point because the scaremongering and misinformation we see is disappointing and off putting.

In summary; get the B1/B2 visa, it is perfectly okay to do this before you secure a job and it might make you more employable.  Obey the rules and ignore the BS.   America is still a free country and Florida encourages visitors.


Anonymous
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 2:40 PM
My wife and I just went to the IYT website. We didn't see anything that said "click here for a B1-B2 visa". Is there someone we can call? Someone we can contact? From what was said in one of the previous posts, IYT is getting peopl B-1 B-2 visa's. How are they able to get one when my wife can't? I have to admit I am curious.
Mike French
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 9:24 PM
Joined: 06/05/2008
Posts: 57


Anon

Do I detect a not of sarcasm?  IYT helps it students as a service we do not 'get' visas but we regularly advise people on the process and as I said the advice is pretty straight forward.  please feel free to call.  There is a number on the website and you can ask for me.

Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, July 9, 2011 1:14 PM
My wife is not a student. She is from Peru. She has worked on motor yachts for 5 years. Does she need to be an IYT student before she can take advantage of this?
Kev
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2011 1:30 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 12


why should i change the record? is this not an open forum? if i stay within the guidelines, am i not allowed to speak my mind? the posts here are pretty reasonable proof. Furthermore, where do people at IYT get off deciding who gets help getting a B1/B2 and who does not? Pretty cheeky if you ask me. I wonder how much they charge?
ellamc
Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2011 6:18 PM
Joined: 05/06/2011
Posts: 1


Hi Noemie

I'm in the same situation as you - Heading to Fort Lauredale in Oct, but with no letter of employment I am indecided as to whether I should apply at the London emassy for a B1/B2 visa. If you have done your interview I would be grateful if you could let me know how you got on?

Many thanks

 

 


Troy Gardner
Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 12:58 PM
Joined: 16/03/2011
Posts: 2


I have just gone through all this about 8 weeks ago (April 2011).
I am a Dual passport holder, Australia and UK.Never been on a boat before.
 I got myself to Ft Lauderdale with a return ticket so no questions were asked at customs.
Found a Job within 2 weeks and the Captain was so very helpful. He had writing a Letter , Gave me boat Papers and sent me to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Was a little work to get the interview but nothing to painful being a traveler.
After finally sitting down and talking to a Actual American it was easy. Showed my passport and told them what i was doing here and without pulling a single piece of paper work out i had my B1/B2. i was in there 1 minute literally.

Hope this helps



Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2011 11:03 PM
I hope maybe someone can help me with this, I am applying for my B1B2 at the Milan consulate and was wondering how long it takes for them to issue your visa from the time you have your interview... is it the same day? I need to book a flight over to the states and wonder if I should leave a gap of a few days. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
Emily
Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 6:32 PM
Joined: 15/05/2010
Posts: 5


I'm curretly employed on a yacht that will be heading for ft.lauderdale. I need a b1/b2 visa. But im confused. i have employment so shouldnt have any issues. As a new zealand pasport holder going home to get my b1/b2 is not really an option. Ideally i'd like to go to stockholm, sweden to obtain my visa. Does anyone have info about not being able to obtain visas in different countries? Can i go to any US Embassy to get my visa? are some places easier to get the visa? I'd hate to turn up to get my visa and not get it. Thanks.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 10:37 PM

Emily,

I too am a New Zealand passport holder that required to obtain a B1/B2 outside of New Zealand.  I just filled out the online forms and booked the appointment at the closest embassy to where I was going to be... Which happened to be Suva, Fiji. The captain wrote me a letter stating the reason I needed the visa. The interviewer took one look at it... wished me good luck and safe travels and granted me a 10 year visa.

All in all was an easy process with no questions asked why I wasnt doing this back in NZ.

Good luck!!!


Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 8:45 PM
So what is the deal,if you have the B1/B2 visa and want to fly over to Fort Lauderdale to "look" for work and when is the best time to go??
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 12:43 AM
Most ads for crew in the US state that you need a US passport or green card to apply for the position.
FiveStarCrew
Posted: Saturday, September 3, 2011 12:44 AM
Joined: 16/10/2010
Posts: 15


A quick clarification for any Canadians out there:

We don't need a B1/B2 to be in the US for up to 6 months.  This does not legally allow us to seek employment, however, as mentioned in previous posts, this is not a green card.

The way I started was with a return ticket, resumes safely stored online (know of one crew who got caught at customs crossing with resumes in her bag...not exactly well thought out..), and yes, the intention of finding work on a yacht. 

The grey part is with foreign flagged boats - we are legally allowed to work on any boat registered off-shore or in Canada (not many).  We are not legally allowed to work on US flagged yachts.  Technically, we can't access a yacht through the US, i.e. go to Ft. Lauderdale, stay in a crew house, and dockwalk.  But we all do it.

Something to be wary of: not all Captains know Canadians have a 6-month pass in the US each time they enter US waters.  I had one Captain get me kicked out (somehow I got it withdrawn) as he blatantly told US customs I would be in the country 1 year.  My mouth fell open and I tried to explain to the customs official that he didn't know the rules and that I had no intention of being there that long... took a lot of paperwork to get this fixed... make sure your Captains know the rules!!

The industry wouldn't be the industry without a bending of the rules - good luck and I look forward to reading more to clear up confusion for crew from other parts of the world. 

Karen Murray
Facebook: Five Star Crew - crewing positions from around the Net.

Anonymous
Posted: Friday, September 9, 2011 9:14 PM
Good luck looking! Have already seen customs officials checking documents on the dock! Lauderdale boat show still two months away even!
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2011 1:59 PM
Does anyone have the right answers for people wishing to fly to the States to "look for work".I am a South African with a B1/B2 visa heading over to Fort Lauderdale late October?I have been reading that once you secure work on a foreign flagged vessel you would need to leave,then re-enter the States and get stamped on the B1 status?If this is so,where do you fly to etc Is there anyone out there who has been through this process and who could give with the right advice?
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, September 19, 2011 2:32 PM
It is luck of the draw! My 10 Year B1/B2 had just expired and I needed one to find a job, despite having a list of yachts on my CV and passport stamps to prove, I was denied. I went to the London embassy as fellow potential yachtie with no previous experience got 10 years?? Some are easier than others. Best to have a job offer.
MarineDex
Posted: Monday, September 19, 2011 6:24 PM
Joined: 22/04/2010
Posts: 45



I have a question why don't all the people with British and European passport just go to St. Martin find a boat their and apply for a B1-B2 with a job? Since its still part of the EU i would think you only need the visa only to enter and exit the US. Still loads of boats last time I went and beer is cheaper than water at the Soggy Dollar.

Mind you I'm no expert since I spend most of my time in Europe with dual passport european and australian just thought I would ask the question.


Bootlace
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 11:03 AM
Joined: 04/11/2011
Posts: 1


Hi there, I am a South African passport holder and am looking to fly over to St Maarten at the beginning of next year (2012). What would be the best option for me in terms of the B1B2 visa? Should I go over on a B2 (tourist visa) and then apply for the B1 (working visa) when I get there? Ive been told so many different stories from so many different people. Im confused about where to start.
Henning
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:12 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Janine wrote:

As a point of reference, I pulled the paragraph below from a Dockwalk.com article, Unmasking the Truth: What’s the deal with B1B2 Visas?, in which immigration lawyer Elliot Norman was interviewed in order to debunk B1/B2 myths and clear up any confusion. Read the full article here.


Can a non-American with a B1/B2 visa look for work while in the States?
Yes is the simple answer.


Interestingly, it’s legal for crew to look for work while they are on holiday in the U.S., “Provided your primary reason for entering [the U.S.] was other than looking for work,” according to Norman. So crew lawfully in the U.S. in tourist status, whether carrying a 90-day visa waiver or a B1/B2 visa with an I-94 embarkation card stamped B2, indeed can register at an agency and look for work.



Right, if you're here on vacation for cruise and wander into the 17th st Annex, you can sign up with a crew agency. That's about all you can really do and stay completely above board without a working grade visa. If you are entering the US with the intent to find work, the carefully worded affirmative reply falls beneath the line of legality; hard to prove as it may be.
 Then there is also the act of Dockwalking, when dockwalking, you go from "seeking an agent" to "soliciting work". I'd like to see what answer your counsel would give to the question, "What visa is required dockwalk"  and even more importantly, "what visa is required to day work?" Day working is where everybody gets to get in trouble, the boat, the captain and the day worker.

BTW, Never overstay your I-94, and never let them deport you, always fly out first. Those two things are the biggies that can screw you long term with US CBP. Also if you are leaving on a boat, make sure your I-94 form gets returned to CBP and you get checked out. If you don't, when you arrive again, you will be told you are not welcome. Took me a good bit to fix that for an ex-girlfriend.

Henning
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:16 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous wrote:
My wife and I just went to the IYT website. We didn't see anything that said "click here for a B1-B2 visa". Is there someone we can call? Someone we can contact? From what was said in one of the previous posts, IYT is getting peopl B-1 B-2 visa's. How are they able to get one when my wife can't? I have to admit I am curious.


What disqualifying acts did your wife commit? Had she overstayed her I-94 in the US before?

Henning
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:38 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Kev wrote:
why should i change the record? is this not an open forum? if i stay within the guidelines, am i not allowed to speak my mind? the posts here are pretty reasonable proof. Furthermore, where do people at IYT get off deciding who gets help getting a B1/B2 and who does not? Pretty cheeky if you ask me. I wonder how much they charge?


Are you serious? The people at IYT I imagine help their students. Pretty cheeky to ask for help without paying for it when everything you need to know about immigration and the processes can be found right here. The US publishes all the laws it goes by and makes it all freely available. You can also contact them and they will assist you to understand what is going on as well, and have the facilities to do it in every language recognized by the UN.

Henning
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:41 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous wrote:
Most ads for crew in the US state that you need a US passport or green card to apply for the position.


Really? That's not what I'm seeing. Very few jobs I'm seeing listed are asking for either unless it's a US flag boat.

Nina 111
Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 7:30 PM
Joined: 06/04/2012
Posts: 2


I would be grateful if anybody answer me I was working as a crew member for one year, I recently came on vacation in my country (Bosni and Herzegovina) and I am not planning to work on sea anymore. I do have C1D visa in my passport that is valid for 5 years, I also have touristic B1/B2 visa for ten years I am wondering is it possible to go on vacation in US with that touristic visa? I would like to stay 6 months I read somewhere that C1D visa could make problem (by the time I am planning to visit US it is going to be 7 months that I will not be working as a crew member) Thank you for any answer
garciayounes
Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 7:47 PM
Joined: 07/10/2011
Posts: 39


B1b2 visa is not a immigrant visa , so it you ll be illegal to work, but it grant you entrance for 6 month Max ( straight). As a tourist or business. CD 1 its to work in ships , and you need a contract to a get in the us if you enter with CD 1 . If you decide to immigrate in the us illigally be carefull what you pack in your lugagges. Good luck
Nina 111
Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 8:09 PM
Joined: 06/04/2012
Posts: 2


Thank you. I am aware of all the things you mentioned. I was just wondering is owning C1D visa in my passport going to make me a problem when I go on vacation in US on B1/B2 visa. I am aware that I cant use C1D visa for touristic purposes just work. Thanks for advices
garciayounes
Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 8:46 PM
Joined: 07/10/2011
Posts: 39


I doudt you will have problem, but they just gonna ask basic questions, where you staying , how long, why, how much money you have. Maybe a return ticket
 
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