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What does yacht crew need to know about B1/B2 visas?

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If you are a non-U.S. resident and the yacht you are based on plans to cruise United States waters, you will be required to have a B1/B2 visa.


In fact, a significant number of jobs we receive will ask for candidates who are in possession of a B1/B2 visa. So, if you are looking for work and would like to be considered for positions that might take you to American waters, you will want to look into obtaining this visa.

What is a B1/B2 visa?

A B1/B2 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa that allows the holder to travel to the United States for either business (B1) or tourism (B2) purposes. This visa allows non-U.S. crew to work on board vessels in U.S. waters. 

Generally, you should not be entering the U.S. to look for work. However, if you find yourself already in the U.S. on your B2 visa prior to coming onboard, you will have to depart the country and re-enter under the B1 visa to be able to work onboard a yacht.

How long can I stay in the US with a B1/B2 visa?

The B1/B2 visa is valid for 10 years after issue and allows you to stay in the U.S. for a maximum of 180 days per entry. 

However, you might be be permitted to stay for one year during a single entry if immigration determines that such a period is necessary for business reasons. If you need to stay even longer, you may apply for an extension while in the United States.

How do I apply for B1/B2 visa?

According to the U.S. Department of State, in order to apply for the B1/B2 visa, follow these steps:

1. File the online visa application 

You will need to complete the “DS-160” form and you will receive a 10-digit application ID and barcode. Keep these details and print out the barcode prior to the interview. Fill out DS-160 online application form.

2. Pay for the visa application fee

After you complete the DS-160 form, you will be required to pay the application fee. You can make a credit card payment in your country’s currency.

3. Schedule your interview

To schedule the interview, contact the U.S. embassy in the country you live in. You might be able to schedule your interview at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live.

4. Prepare required documents for the interview

The documents you will need to prepare include:

  • Passport that is valid at least six months beyond your period of stay

  • 10-digit application ID and barcode on ”DS-160” confirmation page

  • Payment receipt for the application fee

  • Recent identification photo of yourself


Note that additional documents may be required.


5. Attend your visa interview

Attend your visa interview with consular officer at U.S. Embassy/Consulate General on your appointment date. You may want to arrive there at least one hour prior to the interview since submission of required documents, security check, and collection of fingerprinting will be processed before the interview.

For the latest information on obtaining the B1/B2 visa always refer to the U.S. Department of State Travel.State.Gov website. YPI CREW does not take part in advising our candidates on visa related inquiries. 

Learn when a B1/B2 visa is needed and the process for obtaining it.

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