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Applying for jobs with CMR – Visas, Permits and Certification

May 09 2022

Applying for a job with CMR is simple providing you have all the correct documents. We know that there are many seafarers outside the EU and the UK who wish to work in the UK and are often unsure of which documents they must hold.

It’s a complex field as there are many exceptions, but we have collated this information from our day to day operations which we hope will assist anyone looking to gain a working visa.

Please note that this information should be taken as guidance only, we are unable to advise on individual cases and cannot sponsor individuals – you must go through the proper channels which we have detailed below.


Each of our vacancies has specific requirements that are detailed within the job advert, including relevant certification and visa status.

Most of our vacancies require ONE of the following:

  • UK Residency
  • UK Work Permit or Frontier Worker Permit
  • EU Residency

Along with valid STCWs and any other vocational certification relevant to your rank.

Guidance on UK Visas and Immigration can be found here.


Under the UK immigration rules, a seafarer will need permission to work to:

  • join ferries operating between two UK ports, including ports in Norther Ireland, but not the Channel Islands or Isle of Man;
  • join ‘ro-ro’ services between UK ports which carry twelve or more lorry drivers;
  • join dredgers operating wholly or largely within UK waters; or
  • join scheduled domestic freight services between UK ports.

Work permits are not required by the following:

  • those joining ferry services to ports outside the UK, including ports in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man;
  • those joining ships which will be operating out of a single UK port but where the voyage is primarily outside UK waters, for example, voyages to offshore installations, offshore dredging and dumping operations;
  • entertainers, hairdressers and others not strictly crew members who are joining a ship to work on it during its voyage may be treated as contract seamen, that is, not needing work permits, provided you are satisfied that they are due to leave the UK on the ship’s next sailing.

Click here to find out if you require a UK work visa.


Most seafarers are covered by section 8(1) of the immigration act 1971 rather than the Immigration Rules because they are in transit (under contract) to join a ship or are in transit as part of a crew. The Act gives the following definitions:

  • Ship includes hovercraft and seaport includes hoverport.
  • Captain means master of a ship or commander of an aircraft.
  • Crew means all persons actually employed on the ship or aircraft. Staff such as security guards, are not crew members within this definition.



If you live in another EU* country and have been working in the UK since 31st Dec 2020 then you can apply for a Frontier Worker Permit.

You may be eligible if ALL the following apply:

  • You are from the *EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • You live outside of the UK
  • You began working in the UK by 31 December 2020

You must have worked in the UK at least once every 12 months since you began working in the UK. You may still be able to apply if you’ve had periods of unemployment or were unable to work during this time.

If you’re an Irish citizen, you do not need to apply for a Frontier Worker permit, but you can choose to do so.  You cannot apply if you’re a British citizen (this includes dual citizenship).

Click here to find out more about Frontier Work Permits.

If you live outside the UK, are not eligible for a Frontier Worker Permit and would like to work in the UK then you will likely need to apply for a UK Work Visa.


Non-UK qualified officers who wish to work on UK registered commercial vessels can apply for Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC) provided they hold an equivalent STCW certificate of competency (CoC) from a country whose standards of competency and training are considered equal to those of the UK.

The CeC is only valid when used in conjunction with the STCW compliant CoC that it endorses.  Find out more here.

Information on how to gain a UK CoC for working Deck and Engineering Officers working on board merchant vessels and yachts can be found here.

For more information visit the government’s official Home Office website or for details of obtaining a certificate of equivalent competency please visit the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) page.