Foreign Marine Professional looking to obtain USCG License

Thanks for the reply Ctony. When you say the exams will be on test per rating, does that mean I’ll have to do them in an order, or I’ll be able to go straight to the QMED Junior Engineer? Think the minimum I’d be wanting to go for would be QMED Junior Engineer.

Naff thing is I have a perfectly good license, just one that’s only recognized by USCG when sailing on Foreign Flagged vessels and conforms with the safe manning documents.

I’m wondering if I could be grandfathered in for the AB Seafarer-Engine and Rating forming part of an Engineering Watch, as all my certification is STCW 2010 compliant for Engineering. Shouldn’t have to reapply for these separate qualifications I shouldn’t think, but I’ve contacted the Miami REC and am hoping that they can give me a definitive answer on this. Asked them a couple of other questions but will see what their responses will be. Last time I contacted them, they didn’t answer the questions I was asking at all…

One test per rating. There is no order that I know of. If you only wanted to get oiler, you apply and test. If you only want junior engineer, apply and test etc…if you want all the ratings, apply for all on the same application and you’ll take all the tests.
Someone will correct me if I’m wrong but I believe if you can test for a license with unlimited horsepower, you can get qmed-all ratings with no further testing. However with your citizenship issue this may not be an alternative.

I can’t answer your questions regarding stcw. Someone else may chime in on that. I highly recommend tracking down a licensing consultant to assist you. Getting a qmed should be fairly easy for you but stcw may be a bit more convoluted and a consultant may save you some frustration.

I think you may want to apply for QMED-Any Rating.

If you have Tanker experience, you may want to apply for Pumpman and Tankerman-PIC as well.

Hopefully, JD Cavo will notice this thread and respond regarding the STCW endorsements. If anyone knows the answer, it would be him. I don’t know, but I question whether the USCG would accept any of your MCA approved STCW courses. Some STCW endorsements require onboard assessments or an approved course, and some require a course specifically. I don’t know any details about the engineering side of it.

Once you have a USCG MMC with the National entry level endorsements: Ordinary Seaman / Wiper, or higher, let me know if you are interested in working as an unlicensed chief on a tugboat. I sometimes know of unadvertised openings. My impression is that there is a shortage of good, can do, hands on tugboat engineers.

Most US tugs are under 200 GRT and therefore exempt from STCW, but you may be able to do your STCW assessments on them with the port engineer as the assessor. There are plenty of tugs in the US over 4000 HP for seatime toward unlimited HP licenses.

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Thanks tugsailor, appreciate your input as always.

Been reading through the National Maritime Center website again and think you’re spot on in saying that I should probably go for the QMED-Any Rating license. Could be a mis-conception but think that this would be the least constraining option in terms of getting myself into the US Maritime Industry, but I could be wrong on that one.

That would be a pain if the USCG will not recognize my STCW certification, but it’s not the first time I’ve read on here that they won’t accept STCW certification from a foreign authorizing body. Hopefully when I get a chance to “live chat” with someone from the NMC, or JD Cavo, I’ll get some more solid answers, but reading through the checklists for the STCW Able Seafarer-Engine, as long as the USCG recognizes my foreign sea time, then I should be OK, but that could be the snag that holds me up right there as well.

Definitely interested in working as an unlicensed Chief on a tugboat or something similar, if I could get some temporary work inbetween my current sailing assignments. As I said before, looking to bolster the bank accounts and save for buying a new house and all that fun stuff, and as I have 3 months at home at a time, don’t see why I can’t put in a few trips inbetween. If I could get my STCW assessments done onboard whilst doing it as well, would be two birds with one stone right enough!

Concur with tugsailor on his posts. As much as I am all for the Jones Act US nationality requirements, I am absolutely against the archaic non-recognition of the licenses of former foreign nationals who have become citizens when they come from white list countries. In this instance US mariners credentials are generally accepted in the rare instances we gain employment on a foreign flag vessel no questions asked; for the USCG not to reciprocate is unfair and dangerous as a similar regressive action against US mariners can only be expected in the future. At least except for recency your seatime as indicated is accepted.

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Those NMC live chat people are know-nothing temps provided by contractors. All they can do is ask someone else actually employed by the USCG. Unfortunately, most of them don’t know all that much either. Nothing they tell you is binding, and too often it’s wrong.

I don’t know what is required for various STCW Able Seafarer-Engine ratings. I’m guessing that USCG approved STCW BT, Advanced Firefighting, and First Aid courses might be required.

For contact info for license consultants, look at the thread “Must you work a 12 month schedule . . .”

tugsailor, I’m shocked that personnel working in a Government Administrator facility would not have the sufficient knowledge and experience to assist in answering a question… :wink:

I was communicating with a couple of guys from Crowley-Florida office a year or two ago when I first started looking into getting my USCG license and randomly one of them came onboard as “Ocean Ranger” yesterday so will have to open up that line of communication again as well. But will be looking into that thread you posted about as well to find myself a good license consultant. Contacted one yesterday and they told me they don’t know how to handle my case but that if I was willing to take a chance with them, they’d help me out… Didn’t foster much faith to be honest.

I think from what you’ve said, I would probably be best getting myself the rating’s licenses and then trying to get my STCW courses done. You say this can be done through a Port Engineer, or would I have to attend a course for these? I’ll look into more detail for my STCW courses because they were actually completed in the Netherlands and the facility stated they were recognized everywhere, but as to if the USCG would recognize them, that’s a different story.

On a side note, I’ve been fixing up an old truck for 2 years now and have run into all sorts of negative and condescending types on the forums there. The responses I’ve had on here so far have gone a long way to repair my faith in forums, but then again, I guess this is geared towards more professional people who understand our way of life…

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I think this was said assuming the port engineer has a license and used to go to sea.

Some companies don’t always have licensed personnel in the management positions such as port engineer. Baby steps first. Get your national ratings then worry about stcw…unless you find something out definitive before hand.

Yeah, it won’t be an overnight process that’s for sure, but just thinking along the lines of someone said to get the highest/most rated license possible from the offset and then move up from there. But with the STCW certificates I have not being recognized, then I think it’s going to take a little longer than anticipated.

Tried chatting with the folks at the NMC and they were about much use as a chocolate tea pot, so have contacted a few of the License Consultants that were named on here in another thread (thanks tugsailor!) and am hoping they can give me somewhat more of an answer.

In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll be asking a ton more questions on here! Such as, how many of you have applied for your licenses yourselves and not used a consultant? I know it’s an issue with incorrect forms and what not holding you back, and your cases are probably less complex than mine, but just wondering how difficult it is for someone to apply for their licenses?

Ratings are not licensed. The USMM has licensed officers and unlicensed ratings. Until you stop saying “license” you will just confuse yourself and anyone you might contact regarding employment … not a good job hunting strategy.

No Cure No Pay?

Understood. Will refer to them as Rating’s credentials or ticket from now on. Just a turn of phrase from being so used to refer to my Engineer’s License.

Very true. Will be calling a different one in a second to see what they have to say.

As has been noted already, only U.S. citizens can receive officer endorsements (licenses). Citizens and non-citizens admitted for permanent residence in the U.S. can receive ratings endorsements.

If you obtain U.S. citizenship, you would be eligible for U.S. officer endorsements. The national endorsement (license) is straight forward. Service on foreign vessels is acceptable, even under the authority of credentials from another country. For example, if you have time as a First Assistant Engineer (Second Engineer Officer in STCW) under UK credentials, that time would be accepted as First Assistant Engineer service for U.S. credentials. You would need to take the appropriate examinations for whatever you apply for, and meet any “ancillary” training requirements. For any engineer license, this would be basic and advanced firefighting and first aid and cpr.

STCW endorsements are more complicated. As has been noted, the U’S. does not endorse foreign certificates, and does not issues certificates attesting recognition of foreign certificates. You will need to demonstrate that you meet all of the current U.S. requirements for the STCW endorsement, that you hold a certificate from another country by itself will not be sufficient. You will need to provide sufficient information on your training and demonstrations of the STCW competence to evince that you meet current U.S. requirements. This might be very difficult if your training for either the management level (Second Engineer Officer/Chief Engineer) or OICEW were before STCW95 (pre-2001). Current requirements for Chief Engineer are in NVIC 15-14 and for OICEW in NVIC 17-14.

Youi would be currently eligible for national QMED endorsements and STCW ratings endorsements. For any of the QMWED endorsements, you need 6 months in the engine department, and foreign time is acceptable. There are separate exams for each QMED endorsement. You would also be eligible for an STCW endorsement as Able Seafarer-Engine, seeNVIC 18-14 for more information. You might be eligible3 for this without further training or practical assessment. Mariners who held a QMED endorsement before January 1, 2017, are eligible without further training or assessment (See paragraph 2.b. of Enclosure (1) to the NVIC).


Not shooting the messenger (thank you as always for the information), but doesn’t it seem a bit ironic that the USA won’t recognize STCW from other countries when the underlying purpose and spirit of STCW was to get all countries on a “standard” training and certification structure?!?

Funny how it’s easier to get the US National license, but way more difficult to get STCW endorsements…

Not if you consider that it has more to do with funneling cash from sailors to training schools than safety or the other professed objectives. Foreign schools that may or may not do an equal or even better job of providing training don’t hire ex-coasties or write campaign contribution checks.

I don’t know about “funny” - none of this crap has been amusing for a very long time, it just keeps getting more disgusting.


The bitter irony is that the company who I did my STCW renewal through, Falk International, has a training facility in the US that conforms to the USCG requirements. BUT because I completed my renewals in the Netherlands (Netherlands/US based cruise company so figures), USCG will not recognize my credentials for STCW. Even though I contacted the training company and the standards are higher in the Netherlands due to the Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate requiring more…