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visa-seamans book
Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 9:16 PM
Joined: 17/07/2013
Posts: 1

hi my friend and I are uk citizens and wantt o work onboard super yachts but we are confuesd about visa's etc, can we use a seamans book to travel onboard a yacht around america/the carribbean or do we have to have the b1/b2 visas? if so how hard are these visa's to obtain? also do we need to be in the states to find work thanks in advance x
Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 7:52 AM
Joined: 28/04/2011
Posts: 56

The B1/B2 visa needs to be sponsored sadly, so that isn't an easy option for you. Also, for a British Discharge book you will require a company to sponsor that, they aren't issued to individuals. 

You need to look at getting the basic STCW courses and perhaps take one of the entry level yachting courses that are advertised on this site, then apply to agencies and dockwalk in the south if France.

Are you looking for interior/stewardess positions? might be a good start.

Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:07 AM
B1/B2 visa does not require sponsorship or at least it didn't when I got mine a couple of years back. You simply have to justify the need for it over a visa waiver.

Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:08 AM
Joined: 29/03/2011
Posts: 1

B1/B2 Visa doesn't need any sponsor ship. You will however need to apply online at ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) which is the new visa waiver program. It comes with a fee of around $20-$30. Without this document, you wont even be able to check in at the airport despite having already purchased your tickets. You also need to have a return ticket. The only time you need the B1/B2 visa is when you're entering into US water as a crew member onboard a yacht. If you gain employment whilst in the US, you can apply for the B1/B2 visa online at the US Embassy  in Nassau Bahamas. You will be issued a date and time for you the interview and the visa is usually issued within 24 h after the interview. However, before you even consider to travel to the US in search of work onboard yachts, you'll need to do the basic STCW (5 day course) and obtain an ENG 1 medical certificate. Without these certificates no one would hire you. And as mentioned by previous port - Seaman's book can only be obtained once employed onboard a yacht. Good Luck 


Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013 7:28 PM

I totally agree, you do not need a sponsor to get a B1B2 visa, although it may help, then again I know of crew that have gone it with ships papers and a letter from there yacht that they already work on and still be refused the visa, then you have the scenario like myself that went in without any papers or letters and no job and got it straight away.... and besides, just having the visa does not guarantee entry at the border, and you may only be given the B2 part of the visa on entry if you still don't have ships papers etc...


anyone that tells you that you MUST have a letter of employment is full of the brown stuff... go onto the US embassies websites and read up like I did, then apply and get it... be prepared with everything they want or face rejection...


as for the seamans book, I have 3 of them and not once did I get it thru a boat/job... nor is it mandatory to have one even on Cayman flagged yachts (I have that in writing from the CISR).


if you need a seamans book desperately google the Panamania marine authority, they will issue you one within a week, I did this for a few girls in Antibes in May, not a problem... if they want a boat name them give them your mates boat name... its just to fill in the blanks on the form...


good luck

Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013 8:19 PM
Joined: 28/04/2011
Posts: 56


Officially, you are required to provide the following details when applying for a B1/B2 visa for the purposes of joining a yacht in the United States 

Yacht crewmembers should provide:  

  1. an official letter from their employer verifying employment and confirming arrival/docking dates in the United States;  
  2. a crew list showing all crewmembers working on the yacht; 
  3. a copy of the vessel’s registry; 
  4. any previous passports. 

Perhaps anonymous is right and has managed to obtain a B1/B2 without these documents, and he/she is probably very lucky. However, in my experience of having arranged for over 100+ crew members on yachts I’ve worked in the past to go through the B1/B2 visa process, I’d say if you get the wrong Consular Officer in the US Embassy the application will be rejected. A rejection will be on your permanent record with the US Embassy for subsequent visa applications.  

Also consider that this B1/B2 only gives you access to be employed on non-commercially registered yachts, commercially registered yachts would require a C1/D to join.  

Flying to the states on an ESTA/VWP will make you unemployable, unless you get lucky and a yacht is willing to fly you somewhere to get the visa processed. You cannot obtain a B1/B2 or C1/D whilst in the United States.  

Anonymous is correct in stating that a Discharge Book is not necessary for joining a yacht and most yachts will apply for the book once you are onboard and issue you with a letter of discharge in the meantime. However, certain countries do require all crewmembers to hold a Discharge Book before entry, such as Brazil. However, it’s probably unlikely you will come across this issue.  If you are desperate for a discharge book, perhaps anonymous method of obtaining one from the Panamanian authorities is an option. 

All I’d say is get you STCW 95 Basic Safety qualifications and try the South of France, you’d probably have a lot more success.  


Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2015 12:16 AM
Joined: 02/05/2015
Posts: 2

Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2015 12:19 AM
Joined: 02/05/2015
Posts: 2

I hold a French passport but grew up in England from a young age.
I have found out that I can't get a British discharge book because I either have to have a British passport or be on a British vessel. The vessel that has recruited me is American.
How do I get a Seaman's book? Do I apply for American or French? And how do I even do that?
I've emailed lots of places and have researched it every day but with no luck.
Please help!!

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