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Captain's Application Process Submission

What are some preparation tips for submitting my complete application packet?  

Follow these general preparation guidelines and information:  

  • Keep originals for reference or if the Coast Guard requests to see an original document 
  • If mailing the application packet, send via a trackable method 
  • Merchant Mariner applications are subject to auditing and verification by the Coast Guard during the evaluation process 


How can I contact the National Maritime Center if I have questions about submission?  

Questions regarding the submission process should be directed to the Customer Service Center at 1-888- IASKNMC (427-5662) or via the live chat option on the NMC website.  


Where do I send my forms into?  

You are going to send everything in your application package to the REC (Regional Exam Center) that you chose when filling out the form on Pay.gov. 


TIP: We recommend e-submitting your complete packet. You can read more about this by visiting the National Maritime Center’s website.  


If you are mailing it, remember to include a return address on the envelope just in case there’s a problem with the mail. And if you’re sending original or certified copies of documents, it’s highly recommended that you use certified mail or another mail service that provides tracking capabilities. Originals will be returned to you after verification. In-person visits to the RECs are no longer required.  


How do I email my application packet in? 

There are some general rules to follow when e-submitting your application packet:  

  • E-mail only complete application packages 
  • The subject line of your e-mail must be: (Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial, Mariner Reference Number) 

NOTE: New applicants will not have a mariner reference number.

  • Attach a complete application in .pdf format not to exceed 35 MB 
  • The e-mail must include a copy of your TWIC or TWIC application receipt 
  • User fees (if applicable) must be paid using Pay.gov
  • The e-mail attachment must include a copy or your pay.gov user fee receipt 
  • Please use the minimum number of emails to send your application and attachments
  • E-mail your application to the REC you selected when you paid the application fee above 
  • DO NOT submit the application to the NMC directly as this will cause significant delays in the processing of the application. 

NMC Processing Time Update 08-23-21*NMC Announcement: Processing Time Update 08/23/21


If you have more questions, contact the National Maritime Center at (888) 427-5662. 


What if I do not have e-mail? Can I apply by fax or mail? 

You can submit via fax or mail, but the processing time will be longer because your documents must be scanned. Send it to the Regional Exam Center you selected when paying the application fee via Pay.gov.


How will I know if the Coast Guard has received my application by mail or fax?  

Please allow 1 week for USPS delivery and 3 days for faxed applications. Then, contact the NMC Customer Service Center at (888) 427-5662 for confirmation of receipt. 


Normally, an email will be sent with a number you can track your application status with.  


Can I handwrite my application forms? 

Handwritten forms are acceptable, as long as it can be read and understood by the NMC staff. Your full name and contact information are critical. This will allow them to reach you if any item needs correction. 


What causes the most delays once submitting my application packet to the Coast Guard? 

Coast Guard statistics indicate that most delays in the licensing process are due to mistakes or oversights in the preparation of the application paperwork.  


How long until I get issued my captain’s license from initial submission?  

The turnaround time depends on the license you are applying for. For original captain’s license applications, it normally takes between 4 to 6 weeks to be issued a license.   


How can I track the status of my captain’s license application?  

The Coast Guard website has a Merchant Mariner Application Status form on their website, which you can use to check the status of your captain’s license application.