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Avoid Delays and Denials with B1 Visas for OCS or B1 Visas for non-OCS activities.

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Avoid Delays and Denials with B1 Visas for OCS or B1 Visas for non-OCS activities.

September 13
11:00 2023
Avoid Delays and Denials with B1 Visas for OCS or B1 Visas for non-OCS activities.
Understanding B1 OCS visa and the B1 for non-OCS activities, avoiding delays and denials.

The B1 OCS visa and the B1 for non-OCS activities are visas designed to permit non-US citizens or residents to work temporarily on foreign-owned or operated vessels located on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). [9 FAM 402.2-5(C)(9) (U) B-1 Visa for Transit or Travel to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)]

Issues to Consider

  • Sending your crew to work in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the United States

Many companies get contracts to undertake several activities in the OCS, and many of those companies usually need to recruit staff rapidly to fulfill those contracts.

  • How recruitment efforts tie in with visa issuance

It is noted that many companies do not have these employees already working as part of the company’s workforce. Due to the specialist skills often required, many of these workers are self-employed independent contractors working offshore for many different companies and organizations.

Often, the company does not want to commit to the employment unless the employee can acquire the relevant visa. The employees do not commit to the job unless the company commits to the employment, and visa issuance usually depends on confirmed employment. It is, therefore, a paradox.

  • The need to identify whether the Visa needed relates to OCS activity or non-OCS Activity.

Identifying the visa needs at the onset is crucial in working through the legalities and the speed of obtaining the visas for the employees.

OCS activity: If your company’s work in the OCS involves dealing with mineral, gas, and oil, then this will most likely be considered OCS activity, and the organization will require an OCS or a manning letter issued by the U.S. Coast Guard. Seismic acquisition, drilling, or subsea oil and gas exploration are examples of such activities.

Non-OCS Activity: If your company is not dealing with minerals, the required visa is for non-OCS Activity, and there will be no need for a manning exemption letter. Examples of such activities are wind farming and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD)

  • Reasons for the non-OCS Activity visa

The US Coast Guard’s view that offshore wind does not constitute “OCS Activity” as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) made it difficult for those undertaking wind activities to get the B1 visa designated for working offshore.

The United States Congress created the non-OCS Activity visa to ensure workers can get offshore to do the necessary work. Understanding the need and the urgency for this type of work.

The new solution allows offshore wind crewmembers to obtain a B1 visa on time and have sufficient time to complete work.

The visa annotation is “B-1 for Transit or Travel to the OCS for Wind Activities; Not OCS Activity”.


For many companies, speed is critical. They must get their projects running immediately and have employee visas approved immediately.

Many projects have a scheduled timeline, and those doing wind and other activities usually must carry out their work as a prerequisite to other project deliverables in the flow matrix.

For example, those dealing with explosive ordnance disposal, which is a specialized field that involves the safe identification, detection, rendering safe, and removal of explosive devices, including unexploded ordnance (UXO) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), need to clear the way and ensure safety for those who will start drilling.

If the EOD specialist does not clear the part promptly, the project timeline could be delayed.

Multiple employees

Due to visa limitations, a rotation of 28 days is usually required for staffing; this means you must get several teams ready to undertake the task. These teams should already have their visas ready, so they are prepared to go when needed.

Common Mistakes Made by Employers

Cost Cutting by using Agents instead of Attorneys for the visa application

  • Agents’ complete forms but cannot give legal advice.
  • US Immigration Attorneys are generally more expensive than agents using an attorney; you minimize the risk of visa mistakes and delays.
  • This visa requires skills and meticulous planning to achieve your desired aim.
  • You need to get the visa applications prepared accurately. Agents can sometimes make mistakes in the application forms due to a lack of legal knowledge.
  • You need to make legal representations to the US Consulate for an expedited appointment in the country of residence for the desired appointment dates.
  • You must ensure the employees are appropriately prepared for visa interviews.

Not committing to employees.

Many employees have many questions – An attorney and not an agent should handle these questions. This ensures that the correct advice is given and the employee’s fears are allayed.

  • What is the job guarantee?
  • What is the visa guarantee?
  • Will this affect my other visas?
  • What will happen to my ESTA?
  • Can I take a holiday on this visa?
  • Can I remain within the US during my 28-day rotation?
  • What do I say at the interview, given that the company has not formally employed me?
  • I have another job offshore in another country, and I can’t release my passport to the US embassy; what are my options?
  • Not appreciating the potential for visa delays and how to work around it.

When the employer fails to appropriately and efficiently deal with visa applications and embassy know-how, there will be visa delays and the potential to lose money.

As the offshore wind industry is growing in the United States, there is an influx of vessels considering operating on the U.S. outer continental shelf (“OCS”), both foreign and U.S.-flag Jones Act-qualified vessels. Many companies are also ready to provide crew members for operations; this industry is growing and becoming highly competitive.

If you delay crewing a vessel or getting workers offshore on time, another company may be looking to take your spot.

Using an attorney with the understanding of this unique visa can help you achieve your aim; you need to weigh the cost and benefit.

Not anticipating the potential for employee delays.

Potential employees can cause delays with their actions or inactions in the visa application process.

Potential employees need to be managed. Attorneys are experienced in managing clients’ expectations and will assist you in guiding the employees, responding to their queries, and making them feel confident about going forward with your company, especially since many companies require many employees due to the need for rotation.

Not providing employees with sufficient information on visa limitations.

When your company does not provide employees with proper legal assistance, there is a higher potential for those employees to make mistakes. Some employees will get their visas denied, affecting their ability for future US travels; some will overstay their visas due to lack of information, and some will breach the rules because they were not legally guided. Many of these service providers are within the same community. For example, many EOD specialists are Marines, military or ex-military personnel who relatively know each other. There will be a risk to your company’s regulations if your employees continue to make avoidable immigration mistakes.

Avoid mistakes and instruct an attorney with knowledge of these niche visas. Remember, Agents are simply form fillers and not legal advisers.


Companies need to weigh the cost-benefit of hiring the right attorney to assist with the b-1 visa application to fulfill the crewing requirement for foreign-flag and U.S-flag vessels, especially for wind farming and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), which usually require speed.

Moving Forward

You may contact our law office If you have any related Inquiries on B1 OCS and B1 Non-OCS visas.

You can also contact us if you have other US immigration inquiries, such as setting up a business in the US, opening a branch office in the US, or transferring employees to an existing US company.  

We provide US Immigration services for the following visas: 

  • E2 Visa
  • L1 Visa
  • EB Visa
  • EB2 NIW
  • B1/B2 visas
  • O1 Visa
  • Green Cards 

US-qualified Attorney and UK qualified Solicitor with over 20 years of experience


You can call US 310 943 6352 or UK 01708 206 161, email: [email protected]

Book a 10-minute free consultation here: https://calendly.com/larhdel/10mins

Disclaimer: The content of this publication does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice or be substituted for legal advice. instead, all content is for general informational purposes only.  You need to seek legal advice from an attorney based on your circumstances for B1 visa OCS or B1 Visa non OCS 

(Written by Lara Akinude)

Media Contact
Company Name: Larhdel Law
Contact Person: Lara Akinlude
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Phone: 3109436352
Address:21550 Oxnard Street, 3rd Floor
City: Woodland Hills
State: CA
Country: United States
Website: www.larhdellaw.com