B-1/OCS: For Crewmembers Working on Outer Continental Shelf (B-1/OCS) and Yachts (B-1)
B-1/OCS visas are issued to crewmembers of international vessels operating on the Outer Continental Shelf or Gulf of Mexico for more than 29 days. In determining who qualifies for the B-1/OCS visa, Consular Officers take into consideration the individual’s responsibilities and activities on the ship, shipyard, or platform.
How To Apply
To apply, please comply with the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Procedures. B-1/OCS applicants must select C1/D as their purpose of travel on the DS-160 application form.
- Letter from the U.S. Coast Guard granting an exemption from the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Amendments in accordance with 33 CFR 141
- Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book (SIRB) issued by the Philippine Department of Transportation and Communication’s Maritime Authority (MARINA)
- Seafarer’s Registration Card (SRC) issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), with attached signed photo
- First page of the original valid Overseas Employment Commission Certification (OEC) issued by the POEA or a POEA in-house processed OEC issued by certified agencies
- Seafarer recruitment agency guarantee letter with signature and all appropriate information; each seafarer must be issued an individual guarantee letter with each application.
- Employment history – applicant’s job experience from age 21 up to present
- All seaman’s books that have expired in the past ten years and any additional seaman’s book or passport which contains a U.S. visa
- Signed and valid contract of employment in POEA format
- Original Basic Safety Course (BSC) training certificate with Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR) (photocopies are not accepted)
- College transcripts and diplomas (first-time seafarers)
- Certifications of training (first-time seafarers)
- Employment certification letters from previous employers (first-time seafarers)
- For seafarers taking unusual or uncommon seafaring positions, seafarer recruitment agencies must provide a complete job description and indicate whether the position is a temporary or permanent component of the ship’s crew. In some circumstances, seafarer applicants may be requested to submit a complete itinerary for the vessel.
- Copy of the Appointment Confirmation letter.
- In certain cases, additional documents may be requested.
- All documents must be originals. Photocopies will not be accepted, unless specified. The applicant must submit these documents to the interviewing consular officer during the interview. The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit does not accept documents before the interview. Any documents received will not be returned and will be destroyed. Please note, however, that presentation of the documents will not guarantee visa issuance. Applicants must still qualify for the type of visa being sought.
Guidelines for Document Submission
Every seafarer recruitment agency should carefully check all seafarer applications prior to submission to ensure the form has been filled out correctly and completely. Incomplete applications will be denied. Follow these guidelines when submitting documents:
- Remove plastic covers or jackets from SIRBs and passports.
- Remove excess papers and staples.
- The guarantee letter must be stapled to the back of the application form. All guarantee letters must follow the format described in the instructions found in the Embassy accreditation kit. Guarantee letters not in the correct format or without required information will not be accepted.
- The SRC must be attached to the inside front cover of the SIRB.
- The POEA approved or in-house processed contract of employment and OEC must be stapled together inside the back cover of the seaman’s book. Original documents including the contract, OEC and SRC will be returned to the seafarer after the application is processed.
Note: The seafarer recruitment agency must contact the call center to make any corrections to inaccurate information before the applicant’s interview.
B-1 Yacht Visas
B-1 visas are issued to qualified applicants going to work on privately owned yachts. A B-1 visa will permit applicants to stay in the United States or U.S. coastal waters for more than 29 days. If you will be working on a privately owned yacht, you must comply with the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Procedures and comply with both the seafarer (C-1/D) and working visa (B-1) requirements. B-1 Yacht applicants must select C1/D as their purpose of travel on the DS-160 application form.
Applicants going on privately owned yachts must present detailed information about the yacht (e.g. yacht specifications) and yacht owner (e.g. contact information) and must present the yacht’s itinerary at the time of interview.
Helpful Links to Visit:
Nonimmigrant Visa Unit (NIV) is open for business Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on U.S. and Philippine Holidays.