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Getting B1/B2 Visa
E Maurer
Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012 5:37 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


Hi,

I know the question arised already a few times, but after reading a lot in the Dockwalk's forum, I still cannot find the right answer.

In my case, I am from Austria but living for many years in Portugal. I am working in yachting for a couple of years now and I got refused already a few times as I haven't got a B1/B2 visa.
I still can travel to the US as part of the VisaWaiverProgram but only for holidays. This doesn't satisfy obviously the crew agencies or captains.
So, at the moment job seeking, I am wondering if I can apply in an US embassy, in my case in Lisbon (closest), for a B1/B2 visa, stating the fact that I would need this visa to get a job on FF vessels, located in the US, and that I will not emigrate to the US.
Would this work or is there any way around?
Thanks

Anonymous
Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012 6:40 PM
You might be able to get the B1/B2 even if you don't need a visa to get into the States. If you can prove that you need one to cruise in U.S. waters and that most vessels, regardless of flag, require one before they will consider hiring crew, the U.S. embassy might grant it.

I know one person with the same situation and they were granted the visa. However, she was in her home country, which might be an advantage.

Good luck.

Henning
Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012 7:42 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1053


Go ahead and contact the closest US consulate for an appointment, as long as you don't have a prior record of an I94 overstay or other issue leaving you persona non grata, you should be able to get one there with little drama being a western EU national. I got my ex girlfriend one while here in the US and she had to go to the Bahamas and return before she could work. I've also brought crew into the country and have had B1/B2, ( or C1/D? sometimes) issued to crew on arrival.
happyman
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:40 AM
Joined: 13/09/2010
Posts: 9


Hi, I´m italian and last year I applied for the B1/B2 in Madrid, with a letter from the captain and all my certificates, plus my service record book they just asked me a few questions and was so easy, so good luck!!!!
E Maurer
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:02 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


Hi,

thanks for all the info.
Just filled out the Visa Application form for a B1/B2 visa and have an appointment with an consular officer on Friday.
Anything else anybody can think of to take with me or to say at the interview?
Hope they see no problem with an Austrian guy, living in Portugal for 12 years, working in the nautical industry mainly in France, is hoping to get a B1/B2 visa

Any input is appreciated.


Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 3:58 PM
Maybe take some job postings that show that B1/B2 is required for applicants?

CaptErik
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:59 PM
Joined: 09/09/2008
Posts: 64


I thought that you had to have a job to get the visa, and that it was good for that vessel only, that if you left the boat, it was no longer good, and it does not let you look for work onside the US, legally that is.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:31 PM
You do have to leave the country and get stamped in under a different vessel if you change jobs, but if you have a 10-year B1/B2 visa, that won't be voided if you leave a vessel. It's the I-94 card that you get when you come in that's yacht and job specific, so that's why you have to leave and come in again with new vessel paperwork.

André
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:41 PM
Joined: 03/06/2011
Posts: 1


Good Night Maurer. Although a question that is not directly related to the subject, I think that a person named paa me take some questions, as it is to live in my country (Portugal) and is already working in this industry for a long time. I wonder what it takes to start working as a crew member on board, what kind of visas or diplomas are important and what would you advise me to start. I wanted to change his life and told me something that could be beneficial to open up new horizons and meet new people / cultures. I await a reply from it. Sincerely, André Oliveira
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:10 PM
Don bother coming. There aren't any jobs here in he US anyway. Besides, by the time you get it all sorted out, Med season is in full swing.
E Maurer
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:56 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


Hi,
first of all, I am male (as the Dockwalk's editor took my name as a female one ) and as for the idea of coming over to the Carbs or US, that short time before the Med season starts, I wouldn't go there.
Nevertheless, there are many MY which are seeking crew here in Europe, FF vessels, which want their crew member to have already the B1/B2 visa (saves them time).

This is why I would like to get the Visa and be prepared to have better chances.

As for André, please send me a PM so I can tell you more about what you would need in the beginning (Podes escrever e perguntar em português se é mais fácil

Does anyone has a similar case like mine where at the end, he/she got the B1/B2 visa without working on a yacht?

Thanks

SBC
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 9:51 AM
Joined: 14/10/2008
Posts: 33


Hi E, Male or Female, Whatever you do, do not go to the interview and say you want to seek work in the US, not even on a foreign yacht. Your B1/B2 does absolutely NOT give you any rights to work in the US. Tell the truth, that you wish to sail across the Atlantic to St. Thomas on a yacht. Even if you arrive on a private yacht, you still can not do the visa waiver, but will need the visa. Answer the questions honestly, but you do not have to volunteer information he does not ask for. Mentioning anything about work is likely to irk the interviewer, meaning either no visa, a shorter duration or a different visa all together. Good luck!
Henning
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 3:40 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1053


CaptErik wrote:
I thought that you had to have a job to get the visa, and that it was good for that vessel only, that if you left the boat, it was no longer good, and it does not let you look for work onside the US, legally that is.


Incorrect, no such rules exist. The B1/B2 Visa and I-94 entry permit are two separate entities, don't confuse them.

E Maurer
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 5:37 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


Hi,

once again, I wasn't thinking of travelling into the US searching for work on vessels, FF or US flagged.
I want to get the B1/B2 visa to be much more acceptable on vessels located in Europe, which prefer to take crew onboard already with a visa, rather than getting crew without any.

Any more thoughts on it, which I should say to the officer at the interview?
I think I should be honest and tell him that... would this be a mistake or should I tell him a different story?

Thanks again for any input.... Got the interview already on Friday.



Henning
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 8:01 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1053


Yep, "Good day, I make my living crewing yachts and I understand I need to get a B1/B2 visa for when we enter the US."

That's it. If they ask about what boat you're on, tell them you're currently interviewing for the next seasons position.

E Maurer
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 9:24 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


Thanks Henning,

will tell the officer this, which is true and necessary to enter the US on a yacht.


Jure
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 9:33 PM
Joined: 28/01/2010
Posts: 6


just for yours or anyone others future consideration (and hopefully you'll never need it), if you quit your contract in US on whatever reason or need, you would not be entitled for a job search there, not even on a foreign flagged vessels.

E Maurer
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 9:38 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


Ok, thanks, vital info

Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 10:08 PM
You can't look for a job in the US without a green card. A b1/b2 visa is not a substitute for a green card. A b1/b2 is designed for people who are outside the US, get a job within the US, then must enter the country to work here. If you come to the US and enter customs with a b1/b2, you can't go hit the docks looking for a job without a green card. You canT go to the crew house and apply for jobs without a green card.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 10:40 PM
To the anon above, what you're saying is not correct. You legally can come to the United States on a B1/B2 visa and look for work. HOWEVER, you cannot accept a job. This is why crew leave the States, accept the job, then come back in on a B1/B2 that pertains to the new vessel they are working on. It is a loop hole. Also, a green card is needed to work on a U.S.-flagged yacht or to daywork (which you CANNOT legally do on a B1/B2) but you can look for work, stay at crewhouses, meet with crew agents and take courses.

Janine
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 10:46 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 392


This article was fact checked by a U.S. immigration lawyer and will tell you all you need to know about B1/B2 visa laws.

http://www.dockwalk.com/Essentials/HotTopics.aspx?id=30114

ratpack
Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 2:53 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100


http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/visa/callcenter/b1_documents.html That is the link to the embassy in london - read the section that says 'Private yacht crew'. Now, if you are applying for a B1 visa, you are asking for permission to enter the states to carry out your normal employment (employed by a company outside of the US) so, if you don't yet have a job, why would you need a B1? Why would they issue you one ?
E Maurer
Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 4:21 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


So it's a catch 22, and no way around?

Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 4:35 PM
Not necessarily. I would try anyway. I know someone who got a B1/B2, even though she's from the UK and only needs a visa waiver. From what I understand, she explained that it made her a more viable candidate for jobs, even if she was not planning to be in the States.

Mike French
Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 4:47 PM
Joined: 06/05/2008
Posts: 57


The US government has designated the B1/B2 as the correct visa for yacht crew to enter waters of the US by non recognised carrier.  As such if an individual intends to enter the waters of the US by such means he or she can apply for the visa.  Most nationals qualify.  Look online at the application form if you are in doubt. 

If you request a B1/B2 as part of the crew of a yacht and provide lots of 'yacht paperwork', don't be surprised if they grant you a B1/B2 visa that carries the name of the yacht.  This could imply that without the yacht, the visa is unacceptable to an immigration officer. 

The B1/B2 visa process is pretty straightforward: Tell the truth and use the correct terminology when describing your intentions and you should have no problems.  It is an entry visa not a work permit and any prospective crew member who intends to serve as crew on a yacht that goes anywhere near the Caribbean or the US mainland should have it. 

Our students regularly apply and get the B1/B2 it is not the drama many would have you believe.  Please call me directly and I will be happy to point you in the right direction.

IYT Ft Lauderdale
954 779 7764

ratpack
Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 5:18 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100


Get a job and then apply for the visa. If a boat likes you as a candidate and has time for you to get a visa (normally less than two weeks to complete) it shouldn't be an issue. There is far too much talk around visas and so much nonsense. My last visa was damaged by water along with my passport. Despite the damage, I still managed to enter the US on two occasions until the mate on the boat, who also suffered similar damage called me to tell me he had been denied entry, deported and fined as they suspected he was involved in human trafficking (he wasn't). Look on the website of the embassy for facts - not here, there are far too many 'experts'. One thing for sure - keep it clean and honest and you will be fine - try pulling a fast one and have your application revoked and you may even face a 10 year block on being able to re-apply. But don't take my word for it - go to the US embassy website for your home country and read all about it there
E Maurer
Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 5:18 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


Thanks to all
Tomorrow I will find out and see what's happening and keep you posted.



E Maurer
Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 12:25 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


Yeah, after about 100 questions and explanation, why I need the B1/B2 visa, the officer in return explained that it's not normal if not working on a yacht at the moment but, I got it. Don't know if for 5 or 10 years but Tue I should get it and know.

Had to proof the ties to my residence country (Portugal) with financial statements, family, proof of previous work on yachts in Europe, my maritime licenses as well as current job listenings from crew agencies, where it's states that they are searching for crew already with a Visa. Then I told him, that it's important to get a equal job opportunity and he agreed.

Be sincere, direct, don't lie and come good prepared with the necessary documentation and you should be successful with the visa application.

Thanks for everybody's help and I hope this post helps others as well.

Henning
Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 3:58 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1053


Good deal. Yep, be honest and reasonable with them, doesn't matter what country you're applying to. If they sense that you are trying to get something over on them, you're in for a difficult time. Immigration here really isn't bad, we just want them to keep the f-kwits out, we have plenty of those already.

E Maurer
Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 4:04 PM
Joined: 25/01/2012
Posts: 10


Henning wrote:
Good deal. Yep, be honest and reasonable with them, doesn't matter what country you're applying to. If they sense that you are trying to get something over on them, you're in for a difficult time. Immigration here really isn't bad, we just want them to keep the f-kwits out, we have plenty of those already.

Completely agree with you on that

 
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