Elimination of Crew List Visas

Thursday, March 18, 2004
Effective June 16, 2004, the U.S. Department of State is eliminating (on at least an interim basis) the issuance of crew list visas. This action is being taken to ensure that each crewmember entering the United States will be required to complete the nonimmigrant visa application forms, submit a valid passport, and undergo an interview and background checks. The State Department specifically rejects substitution of the proposed ILO seafarer’s identification document for a valid passport and current visa. The Department acknowledges, but discounts, the burden this new rule places on seafarers and their employers. Comments on the interim rule should be submitted by May 17, 2004. It is unclear [at least to me] how the Government of the United States trusts foreign crewmembers enough to navigate ships into its most vital ports and carry the vast majority of its cargoes (including military cargoes) in international trade, but has concluded that national security is at risk if those same crewmembers step on the dock to make a telephone call home. 69 Fed. Reg. 12797 (HK Law).

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