NMC Credentialing Delays

The NMC can declare the printer is out of magenta and that alone will impact the issuance of credentials and what can mariners do?


We can have all the transparency in the world but that doesn’t resolve the apparent issue of a more reliable and redundant system not being in place.

Considering this discussion, it’s probably a good idea to apply for a renewal early. You can renew up to 8 months before expiration and the MMC will be dated to coincide with the expiration date of your expiring MMC. See 46 CFR 10.205(a).


Awesome, I have a few years to go on my current issue but I appreciate the advice.

We’re getting to the point where applying 8 months in advance may be just in time.


received in my email this morning

National Maritime Center Credentialing Delays

Due to an increase in application volume and ongoing technical difficulties with our credential production equipment, merchant mariner credential (MMC) applicants are experiencing issuance delays. NMC credential printers remain operational but at a reduced capacity. We are working as hard as possible to get these problems addressed. While we are unable to provide exact timeframes for completion of your MMC issuance, all efforts are being made to process applications and produce MMC’s as quickly as possible. Mariners can expect to receive a status update e-mail at each stage of the application, including upon issuance of their credentials. These technical problems do not affect credential endorsements or medical certificates. For the most up to date status information, use our online tool to check your status.

NMC processes applications on a first in, first out basis and we appreciate your patience while we work to get your credential to you as soon as possible. For those mariners whose credential is ‘Approved to Print’ (which can be seen using the online tool above) and when it is critical to vessel operations or an applicant’s employment, please contact the NMC Customer Service Center and we will attempt to prioritize printing of your MMC.

Mariners can also request expedited mailing of their MMC or medical certificate, which includes the ability to track the package. Full instructions are available on the NMC website detailing the expedited mailing process.

As a reminder it is recommended to apply at least 90 days in advance. Remember, for renewals you can apply up to 8 months early with no change between your expiration and renewal dates.

Mariners may contact our Customer Service Center via Live Chat (scan the QR code below to open the chat website) or by calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) for assistance. For a complete list of important announcements, see the NMC Announcements on the NMC Home Page.


/B. W. Clare/

Bradley W. Clare
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard QR Code
Commanding Officer Questions? Scan the QR code to chat with us.

Would really help if NMC would let you know a head of time if there going to need sea service letters for your renewal, I’ve gotten 20 emails with the same info on needing medical and payments which have already been done and approved but only after calling do they tell me they need my sea service letters but of course don’t tell me where to send or to who .

It finally happened. My raise of grace sticker arrived in the mail yesterday.

101 days from submitted to mailbox.


Are you saying you didn’t know you had to submit sea time with your renewal application?


That’s for every renewal. How would they know you had the sea time in order to renew? Did you read the instructions on the website?


It wasnt listed and when i spoke to them all they said was needed was medical an BST, I have renewed before while at sea an dont remember sending in but maybe i missed that part.

You don’;t need sea service to renew, but if you don’t have it, or don’t submit it, you have to do an open-book test. It would not be unreasonable to assume if you didn’t send in sea service, you don’t have it and are renewing by the option of renewing by the open-book test. If you have it, why didn’t you send it with your application for renewal?

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Except a copy of a deep sea discharge is sent to the USCG by the ship or company. I’ve never understood what the point of this was, since it doesn’t go anywhere, and then you have to send it in again.


Holy shit. That’s pathetic. Your tax dollars at work!

My timeline for a license upgrade only…

2/1/23 Submitted application
2/9/23 NMC Received application
4/12/23 Endorsement mailed via first class
4/15/23 Endorsement received

Note- I requested first class priority mail as well

My timeline for renewal:
2/15application and related materials sent via email
3/3 Application received
3/31 Approved to print
4/19. waiting and wondering…


My first time dealing with the NMC I was trying to upgrade from 500 ton mate to master and they said I didn’t have enough sea time because the only sea time they had on record for me was what I submitted with my application and the discharges from the few tugs I had been on that issued them. All my prior sea service didn’t get forwarded from the REC so wasn’t in my file at the NMC but those few discharges were in my file. That tells me that they do, in fact, go somewhere (or did anyway).

‘Increase in application volume’ my blessed left butt cheek. So in the midst of a labor crisis that has hit the maritime sector especially hard, everyone suddenly wants a little red booklet?
Pull the other one, etc etc.

Morpho Trust got involved. They made an utter hash out of the TWIC program early on when they got their nasty little paws on that. It appeared to take pressure from congress, the Coast Guard, the Stevedores mafia…excuse me, union, and probably the Vatican and rooftop Koreans before they got squared away as they have today. Lets hope it happens here too, but faster.

Now would be an excellent time to get into the industry. I can easily see the current labor market causing a drastic increase in applications.

I’ve had several green hands come on board and within a week they’re usually asking how to be an AB, Tankerman, etc.

I provide the information necessary from the NMC website and advise them of checklists and so forth.

Usually it’s just the average guy just wanting the red book just to get the process started only with an OS rating.

Merchant Mariner Credentialing Delays

Due to an increase in application volume and ongoing technical difficulties with the credential production equipment at the National Maritime Center (NMC), there are delays with the issuance of merchant mariner credentials (MMC). These technical issues do not affect the processing of mariner medical certificates or endorsements, only applications for MMCs. The NMC bulletin at the following link provides additional information on these delays. NMC Bulletin

The Coast Guard is working as quickly as possible to resolve these issues and we do not want these delays to burden the mariner’s ability to use their MMC. In an effort to prevent this, the following verification process is available in the interim. For mariners who will be serving on domestic voyages only, the mariner, marine employer, and Coast Guard may use the MMC application verification process to determine whether they have met the requirements to be issued an MMC with a specific endorsement. The authority of their MMC may be verified using the credential verification process (below). For MMC verification for any international voyages, contact NMC directly for priority printing of your MMC.

MMC APPLICATION VERIFICATION PROCESS: This step is to verify the mariner’s MMC application is currently in a status which indicates it has been approved and validated. These include the following: “Approved to Print, Printed, or Issued”. Complete the steps below:

  • Go to the NMC website: National Maritime Center (NMC) Home Page.

  • Click on “Check Your Application Status” on the left side navigation buttons or the top red banner or click this link: MMLD Application Status.

  • Select Single Mariner Search in the bottom dropdown and then enter the mariners reference number and last name.

  • Under the “Credential Status” section for the MMC, verify the “Credential State” is “Approved to Print, Printed, or Issued”. If the MMC is in any other status, then the MMC application is still In-Process and not yet Approved.

CREDENTIAL VERIFICATION PROCESS: This step is to verify the mariner currently holds the MMC and any associated endorsement required for shipboard employment.

  • Go to the NMC website: National Maritime Center (NMC) Home Page

  • Click on “Credential Verification” in the center navigation buttons or click on this link: MMLD Credential Verification.

  • Select Single Mariner Search in the bottom dropdown and then enter the mariners reference number and last name.

  • Once on this page, both the MMC and Medical Certificate issue and expiration dates can be validated. *Ensure the credential issue and credential expiration dates reflect the newly issued credential, not the previous issuance. The new MMC information will not be displayed until it has moved to a “Printed or Issued” status. If this occurs, contact NMC for verification.

  • To verify endorsements for the approved MMC, click on the hyperlink associated with the Credential Number.

MSIB Number: 06-23

If there is reason to believe the results of either search are inaccurate, you may contact the NMC Customer Service Center via Live Chat (scan the QR code to open the chat website) or by calling 1- 888-IASKNMC (427-5662) for assistance.

MARINER RESPONSIBILTIES TO FACILITATE OPERATION UNDER MMC: The following items can be verified, printed, and provided by the mariner. The Coast Guard considers this as adequate proof that the mariner has a valid MMC until it is received by the mariner. Coast Guard personnel should not take enforcement action if the mariner is not in possession of a valid MMC but has the below documentation:

Original or Raise of Grade:

  1. MMC Application Status with an Approved to Print, Printed, or Issued status.
  2. MMC Credential Verification displaying MMC Issued and Expiration dates (if applicable) OR email verification from NMC.
  3. MMC Credential Verification displaying Credential Details with appropriate endorsements OR email verification from NMC.
  4. Previous MMC (if not original issuance).

Renewal ONLY:

  1. MMC Application Status with an Approved to Print, Printed, or Issued status.
  2. Previous MMC (if not original issuance).

This MSIB will be cancelled upon the determination by the NMC that the credential issuance timeline is back in alignment with their standard operating procedures.

This release has been issued for public information and notification purposes only.

MSIB 06-23

April 25, 2023