Maritime Crew Visa for Australia (MCV) – US Citizens

Key aspects

Key aspects

Visa for US citizens entering Australia as part of a sea crew.

Visa Eligibility

Visa Eligibility

Travelers must be employed as members of the crew.

Approval time

Approval time

Typical processing time is 4 days.

An MCV visa (also known as Maritime Crew Visa), is a visa available to US citizens coming by sea into Australia as a part of a sea crew.

This seaman visa for Australia also allows family members of the marine crew member who are traveling to Australia to apply along with the crew member. It comes with certain restricts on the type of work that a visa holder may perform and requires that all family members of that applicant not perform any additional work while staying in the country.

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“MCV” Seaman Visa – Subclass 988

The process by which you can obtain an MCV online is more straightforward than you might anticipate and requires minimal documents to process. The Australian crew visa asks that you provide official identification information for you and the family members who may be traveling to Australia with you. In order to be eligible for this type of Australia Maritime Crew Visa, any family members traveling with you must be coming to or from Australia on the same qualifying vessel on which you are working and have already sought permission from the master of the vessel. Be sure to remember that those family members are not permitted to work at all while they are staying in Australia on an MCV Australia visa. If they seek to work in the country, they must separately apply for the appropriate Australian visa. When you are no longer working or employed on the qualifying vessel in Australia, the visa for any of your accompanying family members is no longer in effect. They should not stay in Australia past your employment on a qualifying vessel.

More information on Australia’s Seaman Visas for US citizen

Australian Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) Benefits

The benefits available to American citizens who obtain an Australian MCV online visa allow crew members to gain lucrative employment opportunities while qualifying vessels are traveling through Australia. Given that this visa is relatively easy to obtain for employees on vessels that qualify for this status, applying for this visa is a rewarding and fairly easy way to make the most of your employment status as a member of a vessel crew.

Once your visa has been granted by the Australian government, as a US citizen you are allowed to arrive in and leave Australia by sea for as long as you are part of a crew on a qualifying vessel and can stay in Australia for as long as you are employed as a crew member on the vessel. If you remain employed by the qualifying vessel, it can leave and return to Australia an unlimited number of times while your visa is valid without jeopardizing your MCV Australian visa status.

It is important to remember that you are only authorized to perform work as an employee as part of your regular employment as a crewmember on the qualifying vessel under this particular visa. This visa condition includes all work that is required to keep the vessel operational, even if you are not physically aboard the vessel while you are performing your required duties as an employee. With this specific visa, you are allowed to perform all employment duties offshore, at the port or on the vessel as long as you are not being compensated for an additional form of employment while you are doing such work.

All US residents in possession of an online MCV are permitted to perform volunteer work for which you are not paid without obtaining any special permissions from the Australian government with this visa. In addition, if you are engaging in short-term online employment, you will not be restricted from earning an income this way in Australia under the conditions of the marine visa.

Unless your visa ends because of a work-related reason, it is otherwise valid for up to three years without having to seek renewal from the Australian government. Given that this type of visa is not eligible for an extension, you would have to apply to stay and work in Australia under another appropriate visa status beyond that deadline.

MCV Eligibility Requirements (US Citizens)

To be eligible for an Australian MCV, American citizens must be employed outside of Australia as members of the crew on a ship that is either traveling to or out of Australia. They must also enter and exit Australia as maritime crew members.

There are also requirements for the type of ship that you are working on in order to qualify for this specific visa. The ship must be either a commercial trading ship or a passenger ship. An eligible ship for the MCV visa may also be owned by a foreign government to conduct scientific research or granted special status as a public vessel by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs.

Applying from the USA, you are not eligible for this visa if you are a member of a crew on a yacht or a military vessel or if you are already a holder of a permanent Australian visa. If you already have a visa to work or stay in Australia, you should communicate this to the master of the vessel for which you are working and will be entering or leaving from Australia so that there are not any unexpected complications with your employment status.

Keep in mind that if you arrive in Australia by other means, such as a flight, you are required to obtain another appropriate visa in addition to the maritime crewmember visa. If you want to make visits to Australia outside of your employment as a crewmember on a qualifying vessel, you may also want to consider applying for a Visitor visa when you apply for a Maritime Crew Visa in Australia. It is common for crewmembers to have an Australian maritime visa and a Visitor visa for Australia at the same time. This is especially true if you know that the vessel that you are working on will be staying in Australia for an extended period of time with gaps in days or weeks that you will not be required to work on the vessel.

Online MCV for Australia: How to Apply

As long as you are a US citizen and have possession of your basic personal and identification information, you should not be concerned about any difficulties in completing the application for Maritime Crew Visa. The MCV Australian visa online application is easy to access and complete with your personal information. The Australian Maritime Crew Visa application form asks basic identifying information about you and your employment as part of a qualifying vessel.

The first thing you should do is check online to see if you already hold this type of Australian visa as part of your past or current employment on a qualifying vessel. If you already possess a valid visa for this type of work, you should not apply for an additional visa before it has expired. This could cause complications with your entry and employment in Australia.

If you are indeed in need of this type of visa, collect all of your required employment and citizenship documents that must be submitted online along with the visa application. You will need color copies of your national passport to start the application because it will also request citizenship information, such as the valid dates of your passport and your national passport number. If you have changed your name since your national passport was issued, you will also need to provide documents that show an official record of your name change, such as a marriage certificate.

In addition, you will need an official document with a statement including your employment information from your shipping company. It should be submitted on official company letterhead and be signed by the appropriate authority within the shipping company. Include the dates of your employment and your official job title on the qualifying vessel. The letter should also state the date of the expected arrival of the vessel that you will be working on in Australia and a fairly accurate estimate of how long the vessel is expected to stay in the country. If the company anticipates that you will leave your employment on the vessel before the vessel is expected to depart from Australia, this should also be explained in the signed letter.

Other documents that you should send in with your online application as a US citizen for this visa include proof of your highest level of education, any official partnership documents to show a relationship with a spouse who is applying to travel to Australia with you on this visa and any required character documents. The character documents may only be necessary if you have an official police record or need to show that you were discharged from the military.

Even if you are using the same document for multiple purposes on your online visa application, you should only attach each document once to your application. Including unnecessary or duplicate documents with your visa application may slow down the processing time.

It is important to remember that you should not be inside Australia at the time that you apply for your Australian Seaman visa. Although you may receive a decision from the Australian government on your visa when you are physically inside of Australia, you are not eligible for this visa while you are staying in the country.

Australian MCV Application Process

Now that you know about the steps for how to apply MCV visa, here is some more information about what you should expect during the process of applying for and waiting for your marine crew visa to be granted by the Australian government. For the MCV visa apply online for the fastest processing and most secure results.

After your visa application is officially submitted online, it will be reviewed by the Department of Home Affairs of the Australian government. You will receive a decision in writing from the Australian government after your visa application is processed.

When your visa application is granted, you will find out the official MCV visa number assigned to you as well as the dates for which your visa will be valid. If there are any additional conditions other than those regularly accompanying a marine visa in Australia, which is very rare, those conditions will be provided at that time by the government in writing.

If the Australian government (immigration) decides not to grant your visa application, you will also be notified of this determination in writing. The government will provide the official reason why your visa application was declined. It is recommended that you apply for this visa as soon as you have confirmed that your employment status will require this type of visa so that you have sufficient time to correct any errors or supply additional information in the event that your Australian visa application is rejected by the government.

MCV Processing Time

While there is no definitive deadline by which an applicant can be sure that their MCV application will be processed, the MCV visa processing time is typically four days. Many Maritime Crew Visa applications for Australia are processed in as few as two days.

The best way to make sure that there are not any delays in the processing of your Maritime Visa Australia application is to read all of the instructions for applying carefully and supply all of the required information the first time it is submitted. Errors in completing the online application for an MCV can unnecessarily delay the total processing time.

If you have been waiting for more than a month to get information on your MCV visa status from the Australian government, you should contact us.

MCV Cost

The cost for the application for an Australian MCV is $150.00. The MCV online payment is required to submit your request and process each Maritime Crew Visa application for Australia: you will need to separately file a visa application form for each family member that will be traveling with you to Australia during your employment on a vessel. These applications should be submitted at the same time as your individual visa application to avoid any confusion or delays in processing by the Australian government.

Australian Government official resources:

Apply for a MCV Visa