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Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988)

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Features

This visa allows foreign crew on non-military ships on international voyages to:

  • enter Australia by sea
  • crew or be the partner or dependent child of crew.

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if you are a crew member of a ship that is:

  • used for commercial trading
  • used for carrying paying passengers
  • owned and operated by a foreign government to do scientific research
  • approved for ‘public vessel' status by the Australian government
  • imported and has been registered in the Australian International Shipping Register.

​About this visa

The Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988) is a temporary visa for crew who are employed on non-military ships on international voyages to Australia. There is no application charge for this visa.

You cannot use this visa to come to Australia and stay here. You cannot work in Australia except for work that meets the normal operational requirements of your ship.

You must apply for this visa while you are outside Australia.

If someone lodges a visa application for you, they must have your permission and provide only accurate information about you. If you apply using a paper form, you must sign the form yourself, even if someone else lodges it for you.

What this visa lets you do

This visa allows you to:

  • enter Australia by sea as an articled member of a ship’s crew
  • leave and enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid
  • do work that meets the normal operational requirements of your ship while you are in Australia.

If you enter Australia by air to join a ship, you will need another visa to enter, and you will still need a Maritime Crew visa to join your ship.

Before you apply

If you already hold this visa, you will need to do one of the following:

Your passport

If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa. Your visa is linked to the passport number you use in your application.

You and your family members usually need a valid passport to be granted this visa.

A seafarer’s identity document is not acceptable. If you hold both a seafarer’s passport and a national passport, you should apply using your national passport.

If you do not know whether a previous visa is still valid

If you need to know whether a previous Maritime Crew visa is still valid, go to the MCV online status enquiry page.

Cost

There is no application charge for this visa.

Other costs

You might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. You are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.

Visa applicants

This information tells you what you need to do to apply for a Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988).

Who could get this visa

You might be able to get a Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988) if:

  • you are outside Australia
  • you are or will be a crew member on a non-military ship that is taking an international voyage to Australia
  • you are not an Australian Citizen
  • you will enter or leave Australia by sea as sea crew.

The ship must be either:

  • used for commercial trading
  • used for carrying paying passengers
  • owned and operated by a foreign government to do scientific research, or
  • approved for ‘public vessel status’ by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Crew members include people under contract or subcontract to work on a ship while it is at sea, and scientific research personnel on a research ship owned by a foreign government.

Health requirements

If you have an infectious disease at the time you enter Australia, the master of your ship will be required to notify the Australian quarantine authorities.

Health insurance

You are responsible for all your health costs while you are in Australia. You will not be covered by Australia's national health scheme (Medicare) unless your country has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

We recommend that you take out health insurance each time you travel to Australia.

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. You must be prepared to provide a police certificate from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after you turned 16 years of age. Do not arrange for police certificates until we ask you to.

Debts to the Australian Government

You must have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government before this visa can be granted.

This also applies to all dependent family members in your application who are 18 years of age or older.

Including family in your application

Your partner (married or de facto) and dependent children can apply for Maritime Crew visas if they travel on the same ship as you, if permission has been granted by the vessel master. They must lodge separate application forms.

How to apply

This information explains what you need to do to apply for a Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988). You must be outside Australia when you apply.

With your knowledge and consent, a third party, such as a shipping agent, can complete and lodge your application on your behalf using information that you give them. They can also be the contact person and authorised recipient for communications about your application for a Maritime Crew visa.

Lodge your application online

You can apply online using the Application for a Maritime Crew visa form.

You must complete an application form for each person travelling to Australia, including children. Each person holds their own visa.

Lodge your application by post or courier

If you cannot apply online, use the following form:

  • Form 1273 Application for a Maritime Crew (Temporary) visa (174KB PDF).

Send completed forms by post, courier, fax or email to our Brisbane office in Queensland - attention Maritime Global Processing Centre.

Email enquiry forms:

More information

There is more information to help you prepare your application, such as certifying and translating documents into English, communicating with us, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from us, and receiving assistance with your application.

After you have applied

After you have lodged the your application and documents, we will let you know that we have received your information.

If you have applied online and have not received an email from us within 12 hours of lodging your application, login to your ImmiAccount to check the status of your application.

Wait for a decision

Your application could take longer if you need character or health checks (including x-rays), if you need to provide more information, or if your application is incomplete.

Provide more information

You can provide more information to us at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you provided, use:

  • Form 1023 Notification of incorrect answer(s) (99 kB PDF).

We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

If you applied online, you can submit any additional information, including Form 1023, through your ImmiAccount.

If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

Report changes in your circumstances

Tell us if your circumstances change after you have applied for this visa. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

You can use the following forms:

  • Form 929 Change of address and/or passport details (86 kB PDF) — if you move to a new address or change your passport
  • Form 1022 Notification of changes in circumstances (77 kB PDF) — if there are other changes in your circumstances.

If you applied online, these forms can be submitted to us through your ImmiAccount.

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the seaport and may be denied permission to board your vessel.

Visa holders

This information is for people who have already been granted a Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988). It explains your rights and obligations.

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

How long your visa lasts

The Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988) lasts for three years.

Your Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988) will end if:

  • while in Australia, you do work other than to meet the usual operational requirements of the ship
  • you arrive in Australia by air on a Transit visa, hold no other visa (other than a Maritime Crew visa) and do not sign on to your ship within five days
  • you arrive in Australia on any other type of visa (other than a Maritime Crew visa) and that visa ends or is cancelled
  • you sign off your ship and you do not leave Australia within five days, apply for another type of visa, or sign on to another non-military ship in that time
  • you leave a vessel on arriving in Australia without being immigration cleared by Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
  • Australian Customs and Border Protection Service deems or declares your ship to be ‘imported’ and you do not leave Australia within five days, obtain another type of visa or sign on to another non-military ship in that time.

If compelling reasons beyond your control prevent you leaving Australia within the five-day period, contact the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service or us to ask for an extension while your Maritime Crew visa is still valid.

Your family

The Maritime Crew visa held by your partner or dependent child will end if:

  • they work while in Australia
  • your Maritime Crew visa ends
  • they enter Australia on a ship but without you and hold no valid visa other than the Maritime Crew visa
  • they cease to accompany you and do not leave Australia or obtain another suitable visa.

What this visa lets you do

This visa allows you to:

  • enter Australia by sea as an articled member of a ship’s crew
  • leave and enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid
  • undertake work that meets the normal operational requirements of your ship while you are in Australia.

If you enter Australia by air, you will usually need another visa to enter, but you will still need a Maritime Crew visa to join your ship.

Your obligations

You must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.

  • You can only do work that meets the normal operational requirements of your ship.
  • You must sign onto your ship within five days if you arrive in Australia on a Transit visa (subclass 771).
  • If you sign off your ship, you must do one of the following within five days:
    • leave Australia
    • obtain another type of visa
    • sign on to another non-military ship.
  • If Australian Customs and Border Protection Service deems or declares your ship to be ‘imported’ , you must do one of the following within five days:
    • leave Australia
    • obtain another type of visa
    • sign on to another non-military ship.

If your Maritime Crew visa ends or is cancelled, you can apply for a new Maritime Crew visa from outside Australia. Whether a new Maritime Crew visa can be granted will depend on the reason your visa ended or was cancelled.

Your family

You can bring your partner and dependent children with you, but:

  • they cannot work in Australia
  • they can only enter and stay in Australia with you while your Maritime Crew visa is valid.

Report changes in circumstances

Tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth or death in your family.

You can use the following forms:

  • Form 929 Change of address and/or passport details (86 kB PDF) — if you move to a new address or change your passport
  • Form 1022 Notification of changes in circumstances (77 kB PDF) — if there are other changes in your circumstances.

These forms can be submitted to us through your ImmiAccount.

Last reviewed Thursday 17 April 2014

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