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Ever famous B1/B2 visa query!!! Any advice will be greatly appreciated!!!
Posted: Sunday, September 9, 2012 8:12 PM
Joined: 08/09/2012
Posts: 1

I am a British passport holder looking to get a job on a non US flagged yacht. I understand that I will not be hired until I get my visa situation sorted out. In this case I can only apply for a B2 visa since I would say I am going to be travelling around USA for more then 3months. Here are my questions: 1) Does the B1/B2 visa come jointly or is there a chance that I will only receive the B2 visa alone? 2) I recognise that I can't work on a yacht until I have entered USA on a B1 visa because I would have initially entered on a B2 visa since I am going "travelling" but I could find a job, leave USA and reenter with the yacht's documents to reenter on a B1 visa correct? 3) Does getting the visa in Toronto or Barbados matter? Does anyone have any info on which place would be better to get the visa from?
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 10:01 AM
Joined: 26/07/2008
Posts: 50

Why are you looking for a US B1 B2 visa if you are looking for work on a non US flagged yacht? First of all to look for work on a non US flagged yacht, the US is not a good place to find it. Plus you will not get issued a B1 B2 visa to look for work in the US, that is not what it is for. Obviously Europe ie Antibes or Palma would be better yacht centres especially as you have a UK passport as it would be legal for you to travel there to look for work on yachts. Secondly if you do find work on a yacht going to US waters the yacht will/should then organise a correct B1 B2 visa for you. Difficult if not impossible to get one without being employed on a yacht as crew in these circumstances. You do not need a B1 B2 as "qualification" to be yacht crew! Hope this helps.
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 11:22 AM
Joined: 27/12/2011
Posts: 20

B1 and B2 visas are issued separately. Last time I had one it was B1 only so if I left the yacht and wanted a holiday I'd officially have to leave the US and re-enter on a visa waiver or apply for a B2. When applying for a B2 you should have to supply details of what you plan to do while in the US, how you're going to leave and proof that you can support yourself while your there.

The US are continuously getting stricter with regards B visas. If you apply as a crew member on a foreign flagged vessel don't be surprised if your visa is only valid for the length of time the vessel is expected to be in US waters, the days of automatically getting 10 years (for EU citizens) are long gone.  A few people now have the name of the yacht on their visas, I don't know if this would cause issues when entering on (or going to) another vessel.

Finally you should remember that a visa does NOT entitle you to enter the USA, it entitles you to travel to the USA and seek entry. If your story doesn't cut the mustard with the border guards you're not going to get in regardless of what visas you have.

Captain Andy
Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 8:35 PM
Joined: 17/09/2008
Posts: 93

@ CIZEALIN: Any place is better than Palma at the moment to find any sort of yacht crew job! With unemployment at 28% in the Balearic Islands, and a broke Spanish Government, things are going to get worse before they get better! Recently a 23m M/Y Captains job was advertised on the internet: within 24 hours over 320 people had applied for the position which caused the computer system to crash! France currently has 11% unemployment, so I imagine that things are just as bad there?
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:02 AM
I just came back from Florence, Italy. I had an appointment at the US Embassy on Monday and received my B1/B2 (yes they still exist) passport with visa today. It is valid until 2022 (yes they do still exist). It is illegal for you to look for work while in the states whether you have a B1/B2 or not. When I first got into yachting 6 years ago I told imigration I was going to Ft Lauderdale to do my STCW and then to meet the crew agencies BEFORE travelling to St Maarten to find a position. No problems. I also told this to the people at the US Embassy in London before I ever set foot in the states or on a yacht. I dressed smartly, knew 100% what my plan was, and answered every question perfectly, they granted me a B1 (business) visa valid for a year. It can be done. Have lots of documentation, know the potential questions they will ask you, answer them as perfectly as possible.
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 10:18 AM
Joined: 15/10/2011
Posts: 2

Hey there, All the people responding are right, you can't get a b1b2 visa without being on the crew list. When I cam to US on NZ passport, I got 3 months visitors visa which ou should get on your British passport and managed to find a job on a yacht, which then left for Carribean and I got my b1b2 in Barbados with boat papers. The visa is only need to re enter US waters on a boat and not by plane. I got a 10 year visa as well and tharr was in 2010. If you have boat papers it does make it a lot easier. I can't talk for US embassies in Europe, but I have heard it is easier. Don't mention the word work in the US and you should be fine. You are going on holiday and somehow you landed a job on a yacht by accident. If you have the skills boats require they will snap you up and sort out your visa as well. If you are looking for green deckie or stew it will be a bit harder. Hope that helps
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:08 AM
I'm not sure if things have changed recently, but YOU CAN get a B1B2 visa without a crew list, without boat papers and without ever mentioning the word boat. My girlfriend and I both did this before leaving Australia. We did so independently of each other 4 months apart. The whole thing is a catch-22 situation. Getting the visa is easy when you have a job and papers. However, most jobs advertised in the US state B1B2 as one of the required criteria. My advice is get the visa before hand. For the record, I never mentioned yachting at the embassy. I told them of plans for extensive travel around the US, had numerous contacts in various places, mentioned a wedding the following year and my desire to run one of the major marathons over there if I could. I casually mentioned there was a girl of interest too. I had all my documents in order and was done in less than 10 minutes. Having B1B2, Eng1 and Powerboat 2 organised prior was useful in my experience. Good luck!
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:16 AM
In addition to my last post, keep in mind the Med is starting to wind down at this time of year and most boats either prepare for winter or head over to the US/Bahamas/Caribbean. I would consider Fort Lauderdale and excellent place to look for work, especially from October onwards. If you have the time and inclination, you could try the south of France prior to then. There are always vacancies from people leaving at the end of the season. If you don't find a job you'll need to fly yourself to the US however. Look after your pennies, keep a good attitude and stick with it. Your second job is ten times easier to find than your first.
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:33 PM
Joined: 26/07/2008
Posts: 50

Sorry to hear things are so bad in Palma re employment (re Capt Andy). In France things seem to be not so desperate, especially in the Cote D'Azur which just had a record breaking tourist season. Many yachts are laid up on gardiennage, very few jobs around but also very few crew looking for work too. I know of several friends who have found work this season no problems, but not through internet sites but being on the ground and dockwalking. Using the biggest and oldest crew agencies works too. Sure it's quiet, and has gone very much more seasonal for junior crew than before, ie less being kept on over winter. A bit like yachting in the 1980's /90's.
Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2012 3:22 AM
Joined: 15/05/2012
Posts: 4

It is indeed possible to obtain a B1/B2 visa combined, and I have one. In fact it is possible to get such a visa with job letters or as a vacation as the original purpose of visiting the states. It is still, as far as I understand the vague visa rules, necessary for you to change your status if you change your purpose for visiting the states and that I guess entails leaving the US for brief while. I imagine receiving the dual B1/B2 depends on the consulate employee handling your application. However, I wouldn't mention 'interest' in a girl in the US when applying for a visa. That just screams Greencard intentions. I'm joking... but I'm also not joking.