D - Crewpersons

The D-nonimmigrant visa category is reserved for crewmen. Crewmen are individuals who are serving in good faith and assisting in the normal operations of a vessel or craft. Such nonimmigrant visa classification will include persons who are employed on the vessel, by owners of the vessel or by sub-contractors on the vessel. For example, individuals working as musicians, cooks, waiters, or mechanics on the vessel may be classified as D nonimmigrants.

D-Nonimmigrant Visa Lawyer

As with the C nonimmigrant visa classification, the D nonimmigrant visa category is not likely to be one that is often encountered.

The regulations for this nonimmigrant visa category may be found at 8 CFR Sec. 214.2(d).

The D visa category is for crew members serving onboard sea or air vessels arriving in the United States. To qualify for a D visa, the foreign national must be joining the vessel to perform duties required for normal operations.

D-Nonimmigrant Visa Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a D visa, the foreign crew member must:

  • Have a residence abroad they do not intend to abandon
  • Be traveling to the U.S. for a reason other than immigrating permanently
  • Be employed in duties required for the normal operation of the vessel
  • Sign on to the vessel for at least 29 days

Crew members can include deck hands, engineers, stewards, cooks, mechanics, and others performing roles essential to the vessel’s function. Musicians and entertainers aboard cruise ships may also qualify. The key is that the duties are considered necessary for the vessel’s normal activities.

D visas are typically valid for the duration of time the crew member is employed on the vessel or aircraft, up to 29 days. Extensions may be possible but generally require departure and reentry into the U.S.

Arrival and Departure Requirements

Crew members are typically admitted for a period of up to 29 days and must depart with the vessel they arrived on. They cannot depart the vessel without permission from the Department of Homeland Security.

Exceptions may be made for illness or emergency reasons. Crew seeking to enter the U.S. for other purposes will require a different nonimmigrant visa.

Changing Status

Crew members admitted on a D visa cannot normally change to another nonimmigrant status. The exceptions are to apply for asylum or adjustment of status through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Obtaining a D visa requires demonstrating intent to depart the U.S. after the vessel departs. Change of status would contradict this.

Contact Our D-Nonimmigrant Visa Lawyer Today

If you have any questions about a d-nonimmigrant visa, please contact our office. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys can advise you on the requirements for this visa category and help determine if you may qualify.