The following article was released August 23 by the U.S. Coast Guard's National Maritime Center.
The National Maritime Center (NMC) continues to experience increased Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) and medical certificate application processing times. Every effort is being made to reduce these times and return credential delivery to within our stated performance goals.
Below are important things YOU can do to streamline application processing:
- Apply 90 days in advance: Consider applying early and submitting your MMC and/or medical certificate application at least 90 days in advance of when you would anticipate needing a credential.
- Ensure your application package is complete: Fifty percent of all application submissions result in needing additional information. Take the time and ensure yours is complete before sending it to the Coast Guard. Verify the file you send to us electronically is also complete, paying particular attention to any double-sided documents in your package. Did you scan both sides? Checklist guides are available on the NMC website to assist you.
- PDF only: Submit your MMC and/or medical certificate applications electronically in PDF format only. DO NOT submit pictures of your documentation taken with a smart phone or in other digital formats (jpeg, .png, etc.). These will not be accepted. NOTE: The new size limit for electronic application submissions is 35 MB, so it is no longer necessary to submit multiple smaller files. Also, you will not receive an auto-generated response acknowledging receipt of your application. The NMC is currently unable to provide this service. Duplicate submissions of your application package are not necessary.
- Include your height, weight, and gender: When applying for an MMC only (no medical certificate application/physical included), please be sure to include your height, weight, and gender in your application submission. These data points are needed to produce your MMC and are currently not requested on the CG-719B application form. A future revision to this form will include these data fields.
Applications are typically processed on a 'first in, first out' basis. After review of the initial submission date, the NMC will consider expediting cases when it is critical to vessel operations or an applicant's employment. To request expedited service, contact the customer service center at .
Expiration Date Reminder:
- Under 46 USC Section 7507, MMCs may only be extended for up to 1 year from their date of expiration. MMCs with national endorsements only, which expired between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, are extended until the EARLIER of:
- October 31, 2021, OR
- One year after the initial expiration date of the credential (i.e., 1 year after the expiration date printed on the credential).
Don't wait until the last minute!
Despite the extensions provided via Marine Safety Information Bulletin 08-20, you should submit your application once you have met the requirements. Remember, an MMC can be renewed at any time and may be post-dated up to 8 months.
The NMC Customer Service Center is available from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday for your questions. Mariners may reach our call center at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) and .
Bradley W. Clare
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard