Unable to Adjust Status on a C1-D Crew Visa

A C1-D visa is used to enter the U.S. by foreign airline attendants and ship crew members. The USCIS will not allow a foreigner to change status from a C1-D visa to any other status while in the U.S.

Here is a simple Q&A regarding status on a C1-D. The 10 year bar is due to unlawful presence in the U.S. of more than one year. The marriage is acceptable. The problem is that the foreigner did not depart the U.S. more than one year after his stay on the C1-D Visa expired.

My husband from Peru came to this country in August 2001 from a cruise ship where he was working. His experience with the work environment was not good and he decided to stay. He has been in this country for almost 10 years we have been married for almost a year. He pays taxes and has never been convicted of a crime. His visa was a class CD-1 .We have been told that his chance of getting a green card or any kind of legal documentation is almost impossible. Are you able to help us?


Your husband cannot remain in the U.S. and be put into another status because he entered the U.S. on a C1-D crewman’s visa. He is illegal now that his stay on that visa expired. The only way to make him legal would be to have him depart the U.S. and reenter on another type of visa, in your case a spousal visa based on your marriage. However, when he departs the U.S. he will be barred from coming back for 10 years. The bar is triggered when he sets foot outside the U.S., and the bar is unavoidable. The only way to lift the bar would be to prove convincingly you are unable to reside with him in Peru due to a serious and permanent medical condition or some other such combination of extreme hardships. A bar waiver based on extreme hardships to the U.S. citizen is possible. For more information concerning bar waivers based on hardships, go to: I-601 Waiver.

Helpful Links:
Adjust Status on a C1-D Crew Visa


  1. Anonymous says

    I just have the same issue with her husband but I've a part twins of 6 years old. one of them is cp child (special-needs) and the another child is hyperactive. do I be eligible to cancellation of removal

  2. Allan S. Lolly says

    Cancellation of removal relates to removal (deportation) proceedings, such as when a foreigner is picked up and held in custody. Cancellation of removal proceedings is possible if you are unable to reside with your husband outside the U.S. Once proceedings are cancelled, your husband can be in the U.S., but would still not have an immigration status in the U.S. because he entered on the C1-D visa. The C1-D prevents it.

    What you should consider is having him voluntarily depart the U.S. and reenter as your spouse on a spousal visa based on a hardship waiver. When he departs the U.S. he will trigger a bar due to his overstay on the C1-D visa.

    Having children is not sufficient by itself to waive a bar. A special needs child can be a good reason to waive it and bring your husband back to the U.S. You must show you are unable to reside abroad with your husband due to the needs of your child. Very shortly, it may even be possible to obtain advance approval of a bar waiver even before your husband departs the U.S. If so, this will greatly increase assurance that when he leaves he can very likely return to the U.S. in lawful status based on your marriage. For more information concerning a proposed change in rules regarding bar waiver processing, please see: Obama New Rule Concerning Illegal Aliens is Not Amnesty

    Your case requires further analysis. If interested, you are welcome to call to discuss at 1-888-483-0311. I will be glad to answer any questions you have.

    Kind regards,

  3. jorgo says

    I came in USA in 2001 under c1d. Got wittholding of removal in 2004 and curently married with us citizen almost 3 years. What I do now? I can not go back to my country to apply for different visa or waiver and can not crow border without re entry permit? Maybe Canada ? Anybody can help? Contact me at gam1711@yahoo.com. Thanks.

  4. Class D says

    My boyfriend came into the country on a class D visa which is a crewman visa but he was has never worked on a ship nor a airline. He has been in the United states since 2001. If we get married can he change his status?

  5. raj says

    i was working on a cruise line for 7 yrs now 2 yrs back when i had finished my contract and going back home i stayed with my friends and worked in US for 2 yrs,then i came back home but while coming back they didnt stamp my visa as cancelled or so. now i m planning to go back again. do u think i will have any sort of problem when i enter in us.plllss help me .

    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Raj, Yes, there will likely be a problem. The U.S. government is good at tracking movement in and out of the U.S., particularly if you flew out of the U.S. If there is even suspicion you overstayed your welcome on a visa, it will be up to you to prove you departed on time. If you must apply for a new visa to the U.S. you will likely be asked about time spent in the U.S. Any misrepresentation on a visa application is grounds for a permanent bar from the U.S. The bar for overstay of more than one year as an adult is 10 years. The bar took effect when you depart the U.S. I wish I could give better news. Kind regards, Allan

  6. Aleihs matienzo says

    last 2009 i came to the united stated of america using C-1 or transit visa.. and now im working as a caregiver. my only question is is it possible to change my status here? what if my employer wants to fixed my papers and she wants to make a petition..is it possible?or if not i think i should go back to my country..thanks!

    • Allan S. Lolly says

      You cannot fix your papers given you entered on a C1-D visa. If you remained in the U.S. illegally for more than one year after the age of 18, then when you depart the U.S. you will be barred from returning here for 10 year. Unfortunately, it is not possible to apply for a waiver of the bar based on a work visa application. Your choice is to depart or remain in the U.S. illegally. Regrets, Allan

  7. sankbka says

    i had to join a ship from Jamaica, to get a transit i came US by flight and US immigration issued me i94, i was cheated by my agent and i couldn’t join the ship, then i overstayed i94, now am in US more than one year,i have C1/D visa for end of next year, is there any possibility to become a legal in US,,,?

    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Not based on what you wrote. The rules are clear. The expiration of the visa is not important. What is important is the expiration date on the I-94 card. If you are over 18 and remained in the U.S. beyond that date, then when you depart the U.S. you will be barred for 10 years. A bar waiver is possible based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, but difficult to obtain and you have to qualify for a bar waiver. The U.S. citizen must be unable to reside in Jamaica due to a serious and permanent medical condition or some combination of hardships that amount to the extreme. Marrying a U.S. citizen alone is not enough. Regrets, Allan

  8. declan says

    I applied for a B1/B2 visa just before my admission in sept 04 and was granted one additonally i had a C visa. when i entered they stamped me as a C visa eventhough i told i was going to massachusets to visit with my friend . I am married and have an approved 1-130 but now they are saying i can not adjust because i came in a C eventhough i intended and did visit with my firend.

    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Declan, The result is correct. Many people try to misuse the B visitor visa as a means of immigrating to the U.S. The B visitor visa is for visiting only. The immigration border agent had a choice to allow you into the U.S. on the C1-D visa and that’s what he chose in order to prohibit you from remaining in the U.S. and trying to adjust to another status such as permanent resident status based on marriage. You’re trapped essentially.

      Has your C status expired? At some point you must depart the U.S. and you may be subject to a bar for overstay if you did not leave on time.

      Here is a helpful blog post regarding those who are in the U.S. unlawfully:

      Illegal Entry – 601 Bar Waiver

      After reading up on your situation, you are welcome to contact me as needed for further assistance at (888) 483-0311. Kind regards, Allan

  9. SHEKY says


    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Sheky, It’s generally a mistake to apply for an extension of a visa status in the U.S. What you did was perfectly legal and it does seem that you followed the law. The problem is that you applied for an extension with the USCIS, which is the proper place. However, now you are applying for a new visa at a U.S. consulate. The U.S. consulate and the USCIS are different agencies and they do not always agree. You can receive permission from the USCIS, but the consulate never gave its permission for you to stay longer. This is often a problem with visitor visas as well. A foreigner applies for an extension of the visitor status and then later a border agent will block entry because the CBP never gave its permission to extend stay.

      I think that when you apply for an extension of a status in the U.S. you run the serious risk that your C1-D visa will not be reissued and this seems to be the case for you. You mention a pregnancy. I wonder if your child was born in the U.S., making the child a U.S. citizen. IF so, this event would be further reason to reissue a C1-D visa now.

      If you want help in reapplying for a C1-D visa so you can join the cruise ship, I am glad to help, but things don’t look so good for you. Regrets, Allan

  10. Mahesh Yolmo says

    Good Day,
    My C1/D visa is getting expired can I still fly out from other country with my expired visa

    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Yes, you can fly out of the U.S. whether your C1-D is expired or not. It is better to depart the U.S. before your status on the C1-D has expired. Allan

  11. bonjour says

    i entered with C1-D visa in 1999 and Did not join the ship.married a naturalized us citizen in 2005.
    is misrepresentation is a lifetime ban on my case?i’m waiting for provisional waiver to take effect.
    Thank you!

    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Yes, misrepresentation is a lifetime ban. It appears you may have a ban for the unlawful presence and also for any misrepresentation. Please let me know if you would like assistance with an application for a bar waiver. My email is allan@asl-lawfirm.com. Kind regards, Allan

  12. raj says

    i have a valid c1d visa but i didn’t joint the ship atlis 1 year, so is mty visa the same or how can i chak my status

  13. collin says

    sir . i am collin selvaraj i came to u s a 1993 c1d visa. i am sri lankan immigrant .then same year i applied asylum . bec sri Lanka had bloody civil war more than a 2 decade. i was really effected. particular my community . then my case was rejected bec of need more evidence. then i don’t have choice i stay u s a. then i was got married Jamaican citizen year 2000 month dec . then i apply for mar rage and i got I-30 approval letter.the latter says apply for adjustment status. so my lawyer told me not apply for that wait till removal of deportation. sir i already in this country 20 years i paid tax too. i don’t have any crime . what i will do. i cant go to sri lank its still problems their. pl reply me. i am still married almost now 12 years and i don’t have kinds bec my wife cant have kids its medical problem pl reply me sir thank u.


    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Collin, Your attorney is correct. You entered the U.S. on a C1-D visa so in all likelihood you cannot adjust status stateside. It does not matter that you applied for political asylum or not. The best you can hope for is to try and cancel removal proceedings in order to remain in the U.S. lawfully.

      Another choice would be to apply for a provisional hardship waiver if your wife is unable to reside together with you in Shi Lanka at this time due to serious hardships that are unique to your situation and not common to all. If you are able to obtain a provisional waiver, then you can process through Sri Lanka on a spouse visa and return to the U.S. green card approved. This method requires proving your case first, then departing the U.S. and reentering on the proper visa. Your basic problem is that you entered on the C1-D and did not depart on time.

      Please discuss with your attorney the possibility of a provisional waiver. If you believe you qualify and need my assistance, you can follow up with me at allan@asl-lawfirm.com. You will need to explain things again since I do not have your full name and no way to keep notes of this exchange. Kind regards, Allan

  14. Shybel says

    My husband is currently working on a ship and has a valid D visa and I’m a born us citizen. We married in the states, are pregnant and are ready to file a petition. However, in looking up d visa info on uscis d visa is not eligible for change of status. Are i129 and i130 petitions a change of status? Is there a bar if he returns to india when his contract ends? I need him here for pregnancy and forever.

    Faithfully curious,

    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Shybel, If he is in status on his C1-D, the single most important thing he should avoid is violating the terms of that C1-D status, pregnancy or not. If he tries to remain in the U.S. after his stay on the C1-D expires he will very likely have serious immigration troubles. Your marriage and the child will not necessarily save him.

      If your pregnancy has complications, it may be possible for him to remain in the U.S. for the birth before departing the U.S. to return to India.

      If you have an interest in working with me on your immigration filings, you are welcome to call me at (888) 483-0311, or email allan@asl-lawfirm.com. Kind regards, Allan

    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Pam, It may be possible. This is an area of law that has some new rules that came out over the past year, and attorneys are working through the issues. There are various rules that need to be read together. These cases are also fact specific. I would like to know what happened at the port of entry when you arrived on the C1-D. What sort of status were you given on your I-94 card and what was said between you and the border agent? Where you were coming from can also make a difference. If you have an interest in possibly working with me, I encourage you to please call me to discuss at (888) 483-0311. It will help to have your entry documents and passport with you when you call. Kind regards, Allan

  15. Karthik says

    Hi Allan, I am Karthik from India. I did overstay with my C1D for 2 years and 3 months. But my visa has valid for further one more year. Is there any possible way for me to get back in to USA through any visas in a legal status.

    • Allan S. Lolly says

      Karthik, The validity of the visa is entirely separate from your authorized stay in the U.S. Your white, I-94 card will indicate the period of authorized stay. If you stayed beyond the exit date noted on your I-94 card, then you are unlawfully present in the U.S.

      It can be possible to legalize your status if you have a U.S. citizen fiance or husband. It is not always possible to work things out, but it can be possible depending on the particulars of your case. There is not enough information to decide. I will want to focus on the details of your entry and what is in your passport. In your case, it seems you do not have a U.S. citizen fiance or spouse. If so, I cannot help in your case. Kind regards, Allan

  16. Sam says

    Hi I came in the states 4 yrs on a c1d visa and I’m out of status now even my passport is expired along with my visa. Is there any way to get a id done or get my papers done threw any source. I did reg my car on my passport b4 it got expired. And have my insurance and bank account.

    Need some suggestion on how and if possible to get my papers done.
    Thank you for your time.

    • says

      Sam, You would go to your the nearest consulate of your country, or perhaps your embassy in Washington D.C. to renew your passport. There is not much you can do to obtain immigration benefits, unless perhaps married to a US citizen. Most states will not allow you to obtain State ID if you do not have lawful status in the US. Allan

  17. Amrinder gill says

    Hi Allan, I am Amrinder from India my c1d visa was issued on feb 2013 and its expires on 2018, i joint cruise lines and i worked only 7 days in a ship, due to some emergency i want to come back to my home country, they allowed me to go. But my contract was of 9 months unfortunately as in emergency i need to come back, while coming back the CUSTOM officer revoked my visa and mentioned VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE on my passport but still 4 years visa was left. .As i want to join again,so for that i need valid visa.
    Will i get visa if i apply again. Please help.

    • says

      Amrinder, The CBP officers at the port of entry have independent jurisdiction to cancel any visa. In this situation, you need to reapply for a C1-D visa at a U.S. consulate post, likely in India if that is where you now reside. There is a good chance the CBP wants you to represent evidence to the consulate that you are still working for the cruise line since your abrupt departure may have interrupted your employment. I hope this helps. Kind regards, Allan

  18. Victor says

    Hi Allan,

    I attain US in feb 2003 with C1 visa but never join the cruise ship!! I am living with my girlfriend which is US citizen last 7 years but knowing that I can not change a status of my visa and become legal, we never got married! Is there any changes lately in policies and law that can help me to get a green card thru the marriage with a US citizen, because by the time it is getting more and more frustrating and without any hope to fix my status here!! Thanks a LOT and in advance I appreciate your respond!

    • says

      Victor, There are times when someone on a C1-D visa can obtain a green card based on marriage despite the fact that they are unlawfully present in the U.S. I need to know details about the exact manner of entry, so it helps to call me and have your passport, visa, and entry stamps with I-94 card in front of you when you call. Often, attorneys and “advocates” get it wrong and so I want to examine the situation myself to see what is possible.

      Keep in mind that if lawful stateside adjustment on a C1 status is not possible, there are also other considerations:


      Let me know if you see opportunities on that link. I hope this helps. Kind regards, Allan

  19. praveen says

    hello allan,

    i’ve stayed in USA for 5yrs illegally on c1d visa, came back home 2 months ago. i’ve changed my passport with new name. can i apply for f1d visa. i’m afraid of biometrics. i’m so Americanized not able to stay in my home country wanna go back to usa badly. plz help
    thank you

    • says

      Praveen, If you were unlawfully present in the US more than one year after the age of 18, then when you departed the US you triggered a 10 year bar. A bar waiver is possible, but generally only if there is a US citizen or US permanent resident green card holder who would suffer extreme hardships if that person were required to reside together with you outside the US. Please use the contact information on this blog to let me know if you have a US citizen or LPR fiancee or spouse so we can discuss further. Kind regards, Allan

  20. mahesh says

    hi my visa status is c1d i enter USA on 2012 m about to get married to us citizen ,on the other side,i have applied for political asylum and my case is still pending, my life has been threaten if i go back home i can’t even go back to my country cuz of my political involvement on past, so is there any way that i will b able to get green card if i get married?

    • says

      Mahesh, There is a chance to process stateside on a green card, but the way it is done is unusual and requires a phone conversation. I need to pick over issues and see if I can work out an immigration plan. Since you have political asylum pending, there may also be a way to process you at a U.S. consulate abroad without triggering a bar for unlawful presence. If you have an interest in possibly working with me on your immigration filings, can you please contact me directly off-post and we can discuss further? Kind regards, Allan

  21. Janet says

    I came in the us with c1d visa… Finish my contract for one year in the cruise ship… While on the ship I got pregnant and decided to stay in us… I joined the ship 1995… Then leave the ship 1996 but didn’t go back home bec. Of my pregnancy… Then I met my husband and were married 1997 of April… Got my petition approve unfortunately the marriage lasted for 18 months and we got divorce… At that time I don’t have a lawyer… Then I got married to my second husband April 2001 the petition got approved I hired a lawyer but the marriage lasted only three year.. We got divorce…. Then 2005 my employer petition me as a caregiver… Hired a lawyer… It was approved but then because of my two previous marriage when I’m adjusting my status they denied my permanent visa because of the insufficient evidence… Everything in my two marriage was come in a good faith.. And because it was a bad memory everything was thrown away…. My two marriage happen in Florida . And because of my past I decided to move in California to start my new life again… I hired an attorney. On this case…. But the only way to pursue my status if I will reopen it again … What happen if I reopen it… They will ask for more evidence which I can’t provide anymore… For the past year . I was a good tax payer and don’t commit crime… I know that there is a law under INA 245i that was spplicable to my case… I was approved on the marriage that was happen before that law was implement…. Please advise me… My son is with me he’s 17 year old and planning to go in service… What is the possible thing to do to before I reopen or should I reopen my case?… My first husband was contacted by the immigration consulate.. Because in the letter of the notice of denial there were some question that are not matching to my anwer as per comparison….. You think they will contact my second husband if I re open my case.. Because I don’t have any contact with them anymore….

    • says

      Janet, You need to first have a petitioner who can start the process to help you obtain US immigration benefits. Based on everything you’ve said so far, I do not see a current husband or any other petitioner. Perhaps when your child is 21 years old he can be your petitioner as his parent. Even then, you need to work with a competent attorney. I am and may be able to help, but there is not enough information. Please have a petitioner first and then we can discuss. Kind regards, Allan

  22. Noma Mpofu says

    Hi. I am Zimbabwean and a crew member in a relationship with a US citizen for the past year. We want to get married what should we do so that we can live together.

  23. jay says

    Hi Allan,

    …I have a fiance on a cruise ship with a d-visa…she will be ending her contract in February and we would love for her to NOT have to go back to Sebia …she will be arriving at the port of Tampa, going thru customs and immigration, from there,led to a bus, driven to TPA and flown back to Serbia…I am not for sure of the exp. date of her d-visa…and not sure what “stamp” they will be putting on her i-94 card…I have heard that she now, is not “technically” a “crewman” anymore, albeit we can marry that day and apply for adjust? …plan b, marry her in the states(being that her d visa still valid) have her leave on time, then apply for spouse entry…are there any factors that I can look for (such as i-94 stamp) that may allow us to manipulate this situation, that will allow us to marry and prevent her from having to fly out on february?
    thanks SO MUCH,

    • says

      Jay, Yes, there are things that can be done, but a written exchange like isn’t suitable. Essentially, you want to set up a misuse on the D visa, and this is not permitted by the rules. Each visa has a specific purpose, so how communications are handled is important. The point is that she must enter the U.S. based on the intended purpose of the visa. Let her come to the U.S., and then call me once she arrives. I will be glad to see what is possible and discuss with you the risks of the various choices you have. It may or may not be possible to keep her in the U.S. Also, it may be possible, but not worth the risks. Each case turns on its own set of facts, so for right now please just let her transit as normal and then call me once she arrives, o.k.? Kind regards, Allan

  24. Haiti Puccino says

    HELLO Allan ,
    I have my brother live in Colorado .he was in transit in America .he took a flight from Dominican rep to get off at 12;30 and take another flight in the same day at 5 pm to Jamaica .the second flight was cancelled ,suddenly he went to baggage claims.the baggage ‘s claim staff told him that his suitcase was sent to Europe .they make mistake .his suitcase got clothes,ipad,and his medical heath to give to the ship.then he discussed with them after he called this company to let them know the flight was cancelled .after he was going to the hotel .he should take a flight tomorrow afternoon at 3 pm .the company text him to let him know without the paper medical he can start working .then he tried to take a taxi to go early to talk to the main luggage staff ,they said sorry what happen then they asked him to fill a paper to give him back everything .he as proof of the paper.proof of the flight cancel .proof of the hotel he spent 3 days .now he stays here to live .can he get adjustment status with c1 .cause his I 94 is C 1.he just marry.he come here in 2011

    • says

      Haiti, Can you please contact me off-post to see what is possible? I need some more information to decide. There should be contact information on this page. I hope to hear from you. Kind regards, Allan

  25. says

    Das, I don’t quite follow all of what you wrote. You mention a waiver on a U visa. Also, there is no indication regarding your actual status in the U.S. other than that you have a C1-D visa. There is a difference between a status and a visa. Sometimes, an adjustment of status is possible on a C1 status. In any event, it seems possible to apply in the U.S. for a U status even if you have an inability to adjust status to permanent resident based on the C1-D crewman status. It’s a bit of a trick to pull this office, but I do agree it seems there are possibilities. Kind regards, Allan

  26. Powell says

    Hi Allan!
    I came here an a crewman visa in the U S landed with my i94 card is it possible I can Ajust my status here in the U S without going bck to my home country Jamaica..

    • says

      If you recently arrived, you should not try to stay. Your chances of success are not good. I work with people who are in a desperate situation because they violated the rules and have no other choice. If you have the choice to depart on time without penalty, you should not stay. You should go. Allan

  27. paty says

    hi i entered the us with an c1d visa i was there as an illegal for 4 years and in may 2012 i left the us an came back to my home town now i plan again to go back and work in the usa .can i go back it is more than a year now can i apply for any type of visa or do i have to submit a i212 form , help me i don’t know what to do .

  28. igor says

    Hi Allan. I came to US 2005 with C1D visa but never join the cruise ship. Can I change my status if I get married to US citizen?
    thank you

    • says

      Igor, It’s unclear. I need to know the details regarding your entry. You are welcome to contact me off-post to discuss if interested in possibly working with me on your immigration filings. Kind regards, Allan

  29. rodiny jean baptiste says

    HI Allen ,
    I was in transit in America then the flight was cancelled due tho the weather problem .I was coming here in 2012.i have I 94 stamps C1 .I suppose to travael in the same day to go to London .can I adust status here?i already married. do I go by waiver ?

    • says

      Rodiny, Thank you for your inquiry. There is not enough information to decide. I will want to know more about the details of your transit. To be successful, there is a difference between having a strong case and having a viable argument. Sometimes, having a viable argument can be enough to legalize your status, but this depends on very particular facts. A phone discussion is needed. If you have an interest in possibly working with me, can you please contact me off-post and I will be glad to assess and help? Kind regards, Allan

  30. ksue says

    I over stayed on my c1d visa.. been here for 6 months now …can my husband file a I-130 for me and if it will not help… if i leave now will i be banned for 10 years if i go home now …..my husband is a permanent resident…

    • says

      Ksue, You should please call me quickly to discuss possibilities. Please only call if you have an interest in possibly working with me. Kind regards, Allan

  31. volkan says

    I come here on ship 2002 from new Orleans and first day custom border or I dont what is name they give me landings pass its says on it d-1 Authorized december 2th 2002 5 months ago I did file 601 A provisional waiver its dined beacuse later say you h on December 5th 2002 you were issues a final deportation by immigration judge of us department of justice the record shows that you subject final order deportation cfr.212 7 (e)(4)(vi) this dined later. How this is possible. I dont signed anything I have no address I come new york next day and also idid finger printed FBI results come clean its not showing anything

    • says

      Volkan, This is a problem when you are working on your own. If you simply want information, I can offer a paid consultation so we both receive something from the exchange. If you hire me to assist you, then I will consider applying a portion of the consultation fee toward work on the case. Please contact me off-post to discuss further. Kind regards, Allan

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