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Old 28-12-2013, 10:57   #1
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UK paid crew onboard US ship entering US ?

I may have been offered a job onboard a US private yacht which is heading back to the US from Asia. I would be receiving a salary whilst onboard and travelling down through central amercian.

Question is do i need a visa other than the normal ESTA whilst in transit through the USA ??

Who can i ask ?!
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Old 28-12-2013, 11:32   #2
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pirate Re: UK paid crew onboard US ship entering US ?

You should be fine with a UK passport in every country till you get to the US... with them I believe you need to apply for a visa at the US Consulate in the last country you visit before entry into US waters..
The ESTA's only any use for air travel..
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Old 28-12-2013, 12:20   #3
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Re: UK paid crew onboard US ship entering US ?

You will need a U.S. Visa to enter the USA via sailboat, ESTA is not sufficient. The best method is to apply for the visa while you are still in the U.K., the process can take a couple of weeks and will not only cost a pretty penny but you will also have to travel to a U.S. consulate for the personal interview. They are concerned with people entering the USA and then remaining, so the main thrust of the questions is having you show that you have "ties" to your residence, and they can ask for things such as rental or homeowners papers or employment contracts or similar items if they think that there might be a chance of overstaying. The visa, once you get it, is valid for 10 years (it might be 15 years, I can't recall and my passport is on the boat) and remains valid even if the passport it is in expires.

Here's a good link to information: http://yachtmaster.com/crew/visas
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Old 28-12-2013, 12:47   #4
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Re: UK paid crew onboard US ship entering US ?

What you need is a B1/2 visa. Which are specially for crew members onboard private yachts. You may instead seek a Crew member D visa but only if you are going to remain less than 29 days, and frankly this is a poor choice unless you absolutely can't qualify for the B1/2.

See Visas & Immigration | International Crew Training for a good primer.
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Old 29-12-2013, 03:06   #5
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Re: UK paid crew onboard US ship entering US ?

Thanks for the answers

Would it make a difference if i wasn't being paid whilst in the States so was just a tourist until the boat left the States ?

Ok, just read a bit more and it looks like i'll need a Visa whether working or not.

Unfortunately not in the UK at the minute, in Thailand.

Anybody knows how long it takes to get a Visa ?
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Old 29-12-2013, 20:39   #6
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Re: UK paid crew onboard US ship entering US ?

For a B1/2 no idea, but I would guess a couple of weeks. It probably has to do with what embassy you are dealing with however. My advice is to contact the closest US embassy and ask for their guidance. It may take a bit of shuffling paperwork around between the vessel captain, yourself and the embassy, so better to get started early.
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Old 29-12-2013, 21:27   #7
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Re: UK paid crew onboard US ship entering US ?

Dockwalk - A Primer on U.S Visas for Foreign Yacht Crew

You say this is a "US yacht". If that means that it's US flagged or spends most of its time in the US, then you can't legally work on it while in US waters.
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Old 30-12-2013, 00:51   #8
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Re: UK paid crew onboard US ship entering US ?

Ok, thanks again.

Looks like this is getting too complicated and not do-able in the time scale i have.

A good lesson learnt though, i'll apply for a B1 visa when i next return home to the UK.
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