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Letter to Department of State Officers Regarding NIV to Yacht Crew
Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 6:21 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 392

The Marine Industries Association of South Florida has drafted a letter to state officers offering information regarding non-U.S. citizens who are employed or about to be employed on board foreign-flagged, registered private yachts entering U.S. waters.

You can download this letter here

Check out the MIASF link here.

Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 4:13 AM

I hope this letter is a rough draft only.  It needs major revisions.  It has horrible grammar, punctuation, and formatting.  There are also incorrect terms and facts.  Please fix this document before you send it out.  Do not let this represent the marine industry of South Florida.  


1.  The Department of State handles the initial issuance of visas to travelers abroad.  US Citizenship and Immigration Service within the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for the enforcement of visas.  What is a "Department of State Officer?"  Do you mean a Consular Officer within a US Embassy?  The correct titles must be used when dealing with high ranking government officials.  It is a sign of respect and proper decorum.  Otherwise, they will not take you seriously.  I say this from previous experience in receiving these types of letters. 


2.  There is no such thing as a "Cruising Permit."  It is a Cruising License issued by Customs and Border Patrol.  Small difference in wording, but a very big legal distinction.  And most private yachts do not obtain a cruising license.  Only foreign yachts registered with a country listed in 19 CFR 4.94 are allowed to obtain this license.  US-flagged private yachts do not obtain a cruising license, yet they can still have a certain percentage of foreign crew.  Details are critical when dealing with the government.  Your terminology must be accurate, especially since the issuance of visas has nothing to do with obtaining a cruising license.   


3.  Why are you mentioning the yacht's activities outside of US waters?  The letter is about visa assignment for yacht crew wishing to enter the US.  That's it.  Stay on topic. 


4.  Your grammar switches from past tense to present tense to future tense.  Pick one and stick with it.  Don't use words like "understand" or "believe."  Are you guessing what the law states or do you know it?  Are you making a strong recommendation for the correct visa or expressing an idea?  You want the reader to take action based upon your words.  If you're not sure about the type of visa, then why should the reader listen to you? 


5.  A sentence should express a single idea and stop.  Do not group multiple topics into a single run-on sentence. 


6.  The paragraph formatting is atrocious.  The margins are wider at the beginning of the letter than at the bottom.  Justify or fix the spread.  This looks like a cut and paste from multiple documents. 


7.  Separate paragraphs by a single space or indent.  Do not let them run together.  And definitely do not start them with a bullet point! 


8.  If the economic benefit provided by foreign crew is so great, then emphasize it at the beginning of the letter.  Set the tone and outline your justifications.  You explain the reason for the letter is to clarify the visa problem.  Then you throw in a statement about the economy at the end.  This gives the appearance of an ulterior motive.   


9.  When signing a letter, it is proper to TYPE your full name and title.  Letter writing 101.  Google some examples. 


10.  Is this really the letterhead of the MIASF?  Different-sized fonts and uneven margins?  Come on guys.  You are representing professionals.  Look professional. 


While the above is a harsh critique, I certainly applaud your efforts to address this problem head on.  But, please, please, please have an English teacher, attorney, or paralegal proof read your revised letter before sending it to anyone official.  First impressions are critical.  If you send out something half-arse, that's the kind of response you will receive.