46 U.S. Code § 8103. Citizenship and Navy Reserve requirements
Historical and Revision Notes
Source section (U.S. Code)
Section 8103 sets forth the requirements for citizenship and Naval Reserve membership for the complement on a vessel documented under the laws of the United States.
Subsection (a) requires that the master, chief engineer, or officer in charge of a deck or engineering watch on a United States documented vessel be a United States citizen.
Subsection (b) requires that 75 percent of the seamen, excluding licensed individuals, on a United States documented vessel be United States citizens, except for a fishing or whaling vessel or yacht. The Secretary may reduce the percentage if the Secretary decides on investigation that United States seamen are not available. This investigation and percentage reduction authority is the sole responsibility of the Secretary of Transportation and accordingly the Secretary is to make these decisions expeditiously, promptly, and independently so as not to be dependent on any other agency to make this reduction. The Committee believes the Secretary is capable of this decision and need not delay or fail to make the decision because some other agency does not have the information or would require an extended period to acquire that information. The phrase “for any reason” is used merely to emphasize the complete discretion of the Secretary in making this decision. In addition, because this decision is based on an investigation, formal procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act do not apply.
Subsections (c) and (d) provide that a vessel, except a passenger vessel, on departure from the United States that has been granted a construction or operating differential subsidy have a higher percentage citizenship requirement. Subsection (c) requires all of the crew and employees of a cargo vessel be United States citizens. Subsection (d) requires at least 90 percent of the entire complement of a passenger vessel be United States citizens. The phrase “including all licensed individuals” emphasizes that all licensed individuals are required to be United States citizens as required by subsection (a) and that they compose part of the 90 percent requirement under this subsection. Further, under subsection (d), the balance of the complement must be individuals who have a declaration of intention to become a United States citizen or evidence of admission to the United States as a permanent resident and may only be employed in the steward’s department of the passenger vessel.
Except for the master, subsection (e) permits a non-United States citizen to fill a vacancy that occurs for any reason on a United States documented vessel during a foreign voyage until the vessel returns to a United States port where a United States citizen replacement can be obtained. The phrase “for any reason” is used merely for emphasis.
Subsection (f) provides for the penalty for violation of this section.
Subsection (g) requires a deck or engineer officer on a vessel that has been granted an operating differential subsidy or is under the control by the Department of Transportation to be, if eligible, a member of the Naval Reserve. This section does not apply to a vessel of the Coast Guard or the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
Subsection (h) permits the President to suspend the requirements of this section during a proclaimed national emergency or the requirement of subsection (a) for United States vessels documented for foreign trade when the needs of commerce require.
The Immigration and Nationality Act, referred to in subsecs. (i)(1)(C) and (k)(1)(C), is act June 27, 1952, ch. 477, 66 Stat. 163, which is classified principally to chapter 12 (§ 1101 et seq.) of Title 8, Aliens and Nationality. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1101 of Title 8 and Tables.
2016—Subsec. (b)(1)(A)(iii). Pub. L. 114–120, § 306(a)(6), substituted “Academy; and” for “Academy.”
Subsecs. (c), (d)(1). Pub. L. 114–120, § 313(d), struck out “or operating” before “differential subsidy”.
2006—Pub. L. 109–163, § 515(f)(3)(B), substituted “Navy Reserve” for “Naval Reserve” in section catchline.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109–304 substituted “Except as otherwise provided in this title, only” for “Only”.
Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 109–163, § 515(f)(3)(A), substituted “Navy Reserve” for “Naval Reserve”.
Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 109–241 added subsec. (j).
Subsec. (k). Pub. L. 109–364 added subsec. (k).
2004—Subsec. (b)(1)(A). Pub. L. 108–293 amended subpar. (A) generally. Prior to amendment, subpar. (A) read as follows: “each unlicensed seaman must be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence; and”.
1996—Subsec. (b)(2)(B). Pub. L. 104–208 substituted “Magnuson-Stevens Fishery” for “Magnuson Fishery”.
Subsec. (b)(3)(A). Pub. L. 104–324, § 727, inserted “as measured under section 14502 of this title, or an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of this title as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of this title” after “1,600 gross tons”.
Subsec. (i)(1)(D). Pub. L. 104–324, § 1123, added subpar. (D).
Subsec. (i)(3). Pub. L. 104–208 substituted “Magnuson-Stevens Fishery” for “Magnuson Fishery”.
1990—Subsec. (i)(3)(C). Pub. L. 101–595, §§ 603(6) and 711, amended subpar. (C) identically, substituting “Nationality” for “Naturalization”.
1988—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 100–239, § 5(a)(1), inserted “radio officer,” after “chief engineer,”.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 100–255 substituted “section,” for “subsection,” in par. (3).
Pub. L. 100–239, § 5(a)(2), amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) read as follows: “On each departure of a documented vessel (except a fishing or whaling vessel or yacht) from a port of the United States, 75 percent of the seamen (excluding licensed individuals) must be citizens of the United States. If the Secretary decides, on investigation, that qualified citizen seamen are not available, the Secretary may reduce the percentage.”
Subsecs. (c), (d)(1). Pub. L. 100–239, § 5(b), struck out “from the United States” after “On each departure”.
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 100–239, § 5(c), inserted “and the radio officer” after “the master” and substituted “until the vessel’s return to a port at which in the most expeditious manner” for “until the vessel’s first return to a United States port at which”.
Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 100–239, § 5(d)(1), added subsec. (i).
Pub. L. 104–208, div. A, title I, § 101(a) [title II, § 211(b)], Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009, 3009–41, provided that the amendment made by that section is effective 15 days after Oct. 11, 1996.
For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468(b), 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.
Pub. L. 109–241, title IV, § 421, July 11, 2006, 120 Stat. 547, as amended by Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, § 904, Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3011; Pub. L. 112–213, title VII, § 701, Dec. 20, 2012, 126 Stat. 1579; Pub. L. 113–281, title VI, § 601, Dec. 18, 2014, 128 Stat. 3060; Pub. L. 114–120, title VI, § 601(a), Feb. 8, 2016, 130 Stat. 79, provided that: