US outlines testing and quarantine requirements for seafarers who are not fully vaccinated

11 November 2021

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued further clarifications regarding the rules that apply to seafarers entering the country.

From 8 November 2021, non-citizen, non-immigrant air travellers to the United States must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an aeroplane headed to the US. However, DOT previously clarified that 'sea crew members traveling with a C-1 and D non-immigrant Visa' who do not work on cruise ships are exempt from the requirement.

Responding to further questioning from the International Transport Workers' Federation, DOT has now stated that testing and quarantine requirements apply to crew travelling on these visas who are not fully vaccinated or cannot prove that they have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 90 days.

Testing requirements

Like all other passengers, crew in this category must present a negative Covid-19 viral test result or proof of having recovered from Covid-19 in the last 90 days before boarding their flight.

  • Those who are fully vaccinated must take the test no more than three days before departure and show proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19
  • Those not fully vaccinated must take the test no more than one day before departure. They must get a second test three to five days after arrival unless they can document having recovered from Covid-19 in the past 90 days
  • Those who have recently recovered from Covid-19: may instead travel with documentation of recovery from Covid-19, where the test was taken no more than 90 days before departure. They must also show a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official stating that they are cleared to travel


Crew travelling with a C-1 and D non-immigrant Visa who are embarking aboard their vessel the same day they arrive in the US must either:

  • Self-quarantine in a single-occupancy cabin with a private bathroom for at least seven days after arriving in the US; or
  • Maintain a 'working' quarantine on board the ship for at least seven days after arriving

Crew who are not embarking the day they arrive must self-quarantine for seven days in hotel accommodations.

Those due to embark before the seven-day self-quarantine period is completed must quarantine in their hotel until boarding. Once onboard, they must follow one of the quarantine options above for the remainder of their quarantine period.

Further clarification from the Department of Transportation on questions raised on the new requirements for seafarers entering the U.S. via air is attached.


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