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).