Foreign Marine Professional looking to obtain USCG License

There is a prescribed procedure to “plead your case”. Fill out the application, pay the fees, and go through the process. After the NMC evaluation, 99.9% chance that they will tell you your courses do not count because they are not USCG approved. Once you have your denial letter, you can make a formal request for reconsideration, which then kicks your application up the ladder to some people who REALLY “knows what’s what”, those people will tell you that your courses do not count because they are not USCG approved.
Pro tip: take the USCG approved courses. Welcome to America.


Nice to see that the US as part of IMO is accepting of STCW certification from other countries…
Kind of negates the whole point…


Make an application and request reconsideration after it’s denied is the worst “advice” I’ve ever heard.

Foreign certificates are Not accepted, 100% not accepted.

Requests for Reconsideration take about a year. I have no reason to think that the coalminer’s daughters up in West Virginia doing them know a damn thing.

Glad to hear you got a tugboat job as an unlicensed engineer. Probably a big step down in status, but a big step up in pay.

Bite the bullet, pay the money, and go take the USCG approved STCW courses. At least you can sleep through them. Start now. Be all ready to go get your USCG license as soon as you get your citizenship.

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Thanks tugsailor, it’s actually a big step down in both status and pay BUT with our twin boys approaching their first birthday (man, where has the time gone?!?!) I’m 10,000% happier with a 3 week on/off rotation than 3 months!
I’m planning on going through the USCG approved STCW safety courses later this year and before citizenship comes through but will have to see when and where I can get the likes of HELM, ERM and High Voltage certificates as I’ve only found a couple of places and they’re expensive as all hell! And was kind of hoping to find them online if possible to keep some of the costs down.

My “advice” to our foreign mariner was kind of tongue in cheek, forgive me for not using the sarcasm font. As you and I both stated, foreign certificates are not accepted. But that didn’t stop @kierobi1302 from opining that he just needed to make his case to someone who “knows what’s what”, well, reconsideration takes place with people who DO “know what’s what”. Not the WV civilians. And the answer will still be the same: Go take USCG approved courses.

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Many thanks for the feedback, both useful and useless.

You would think that it would be a reasonable assumption that any country that has adopted STCW and is an IMO member state, would accept accredited STCW certificates from other member states. The fact that they don’t is simply a money making scheme, nothing short.

Will find out the full list of certificates I’ll need and start making headway on those when I can.


Yes. The rip-off American schools (and the USCG that is in bed with them ) don’t want American Mariners to take a nice tax deductible vacation some place warm and sunny overseas where the courses are half of the US price.

Frankly, many American Mariners might benefit a great deal from some foreign courses. At the least it would give them some perspective.


Many of the US courses and schools are not accepted by foreign Maritime Authorities, unless they are STCW compliant and IMO approved.

I believe the courses held by RelyOn NUTEC USA is accepted by most foreign authorities. (Not sure about this):

PS> This will not help OP, since RelyOn NUTEC is about safety training only.

Reconsideration is exactly what the name suggests. It’s a reconsideration by the NMC of an NMC decision. Appeals are handled at CG HQ. Requesting a reconsideration is a prerequisite to making an appeal. See 46 CFR 1.03-40.

I’m not sure who you are trying to impugn with “WV civilians,” West Virginia, civilians, or both. The reconsideration decision is signed in WV, but not by a civilian, all involved i n appeals at HQ, including the Director who signs the decision, are civilians.

Silly man, you are talking about the government and reasonable assumptions have never, and will never, apply.

Now, if you can hire a boatload of former CG admirals and contribute a few million to a political slush fund or three you might be able to get a bit closer to your goal.

I benefited greatly when I started surveying and spending time on foreign flag ships. Certainly gave me a much better perspective of the maritime industry.


I wasn’t trying to impugn anyone, and if my post came across that way, please accept my apologies. I used the phrase in reference to the “coalminer’s daughters” comment. I personally have had excellent interactions with the staff at the NMC, no complaints from me.

No problem. That guy loves the coal miner daughter comment, never mind that Martinsburg is a suburb of DC and Baltimore, and a 6-hour plus drive to the coal mines in SW WVa.

“Coalminer’s daughter” seems like a reasonable proxy for “landlubber” with no maritime knowledge in West Virginia. A lot of the staff appears to be female, so they are someone’s daughters.

The incompetence, malperformance, and non-performance of the NMC staff is mind boggling.

That fiddle playing politician somehow got the NMC headquarters located in West Virginia. Never back in the day had to deal with them. I found it much easier to go to either Norfolk, Baltimore, Miami, or New Orleans to get my paperwork,documents and tests in order and talk to a live person. It’s not so much the location of NMC. It’s the knowledge of the personnel involved in the process. I see the rules etc have changed so much in the last 20 years, hard to follow for anyone in this industry on either side of the desk. JD Cavo is the most relevant guy on this site regarding USCG, and am sure he scratches his head at times.

The USCG did it right at local offices with experienced staff for at least 50 years. Then the USCG fell victim to a political scheme to create jobs in West Virginia.

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