NMC Update, mailing and paying

June 26, 2009
Update – Mailing Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) Applications to
Regional Examination Centers (RECs) & Pay.Gov User Fee Payment

This bulletin update provides additional information on procedures to follow when mailing credential applications to a Regional Examination Center. New procedures were implemented in April 2009 to enable mariners to mail their applications to one of the 17 RECs throughout the country. These changes simplify the application process by enabling mariners to send photocopies of supporting documentation when submitting applications by mail. Additionally new procedures streamline the payment of user fee options for mariners and the Coast Guard.
Application Submission: Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 10, Subpart B 10.209 General Application Procedures allows mariners to mail copies of their entire application package, including sea service and training / course certificates, to one of the 17 Coast Guard Regional Examination Centers for processing. Merchant mariner applicants submitting copies by mail are advised that application documentation may be subject to auditing and verification by the Coast Guard during the evaluation process.
In the near future, the Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) intends on providing capabilities for mariners to submit credential applications by e-mail. Sending your application packages to RECs via e-mail will save further time and money and is a more secure method of delivery. Stay tuned to our website, www.uscg.mil/nmc, for more information on this.
User Fee Payments: In 2005, the NMC introduced the availability of www.pay.gov and ushered in a fast, convenient and more secure method for paying user fees. Since then this electronic link to the U. S. Department of Treasury has provided tens of thousands of mariners a safe, quick and reliable way to pay user fees.

  1. To ensure quick processing of applications submitted to an REC by mail, mariners can pay user fees via www.pay.gov. The application package submitted to an REC must include a copy of the pay.gov payment receipt.
  2. For quicker turnaround times for administering exams and issuing credentials, user fees identified during the evaluation process, such as testing or issuance fees, can be paid via www.pay.gov. The notifications sent to mariners regarding testing or credential issuance fees will contain quick links to the www.pay.gov web site.
  3. The Coast Guard cannot accept cash or money-order payments submitted with applications mailed to an REC.
    We thank you for your continued patience as we begin to modernize operations.
    David C. Stalfort
    Captain, U. S. Coast Guard
    Commanding Officer
    United States Coast Guard
    National Maritime Center
    100 Forbes Drive
    Martinsburg, WV 25404
    Phn: (888) 433-3400
    E-mail: iasknmc@uscg.mil
    Commanding Officer
    For the latest information on merchant mariner credentialing, visit our web site at http://www.uscg.mil/nmc.
    The National Maritime Center is an ISO 9001:2000 Compliant Organization.

Just wanted to relay what has happened to me regarding my application to renew my credentials. About a month ago I took my application packet down to the REC in my area. They were not set up for me to pay there using Pay.Gov so I wrote the necessary checks and was on my way.

This morning I called the NMC inquiring about the status of my application and was told there was a hold for additional information on it. At the time they weren’t able to tell me why but would let me know within 24 hrs.

I then called the REC where I submitted the application and spoke to the guy who took it. He looked up my file and said he would call me right back. About 15 minutes later he called and said while the application got scanned and forwarded, the checks had to be mailed to be processed. They don’t do it there (at that REC). He remembers putting it in the envelope and had the tracking number but the Post Office has no record of scanning the tracking number for acceptance into their system. In other words somewhere between the letter being sent off to be mailed and the post office getting it, it got lost. There was a hold on the application due to unpaid fees. They were waiting for the check to arrive in the mail.

The guy at the REC directed me to the Fee tab on the NMC website and walked me through it making sure I was paying the right amount. He asked that I copy him on the receipt email so he could make sure the application process got moving again.

The moral of this story is to use the Pay.Gov option as it is quicker and payment is immediate. The application is then ready to move on to the next step in the approval process. Waiting for the checks to arrive and be processed caused a delay from the start since the application and supporting documentation got scanned and was sent electronically (from the REC). While I like to think the USPS rarely loses mail it doesn’t help when you are one of those statics. If I had my computer with me and was able to get online (or perhaps dared to use my smartphone) I would have paid it when I submitted the application. Being “old school” I brought my checkbook with me.

I was told if the checks ever arrive they will be returned since I have already paid. We shall see…