Firstly, it is essential to have an up to date passport with free pages available for stamps and visas. It is also advisable to get a MAXI Passport if possible, this is a passport with additional pages, which can be useful in areas like the Caribbean where you will receive many stamps in your passport as you cruise between islands. The last thing you want, or need is to run out of space in your passport mid-season.
- B1/B2 Visa (USA): This visa is crucial if you are a non-American crew member applying for positions on International flagged vessels cruising in the US waters. The visa can be valid anywhere from 1-10 years, depending on your situation and nationality. It is important to understand that this visa does not allow you to seek a job whilst in the USA or to be employed on a US flagged vessel. It simply allows you to cruise in US waters and to transit through the USA customs to and from your vessel.
- Schengen Visa (EUROPE): The Schengen visa is necessary for non-European and non-British crew. It allows you to move freely between all the European countries that make up the Schengen area. It can be obtained from the embassy of your first point of entry into Europe.
- Seamans Discharge Book: Once you are employed on a vessel you may apply for a Seamans Discharge Book from the flag state of the vessel on which you are employed. This may be useful for tax purposes and in certain circumstances it may even act as a passport if you do not have the necessary visa for a certain area.