The end of the Med season is almost here and I wanted to take a minute to clarify one of the questions I get all the time.
Those of you who have trained with us in Cape Town should know this already as it is in your course notes, but here's a brief overview of how to stamp in/out.
**These regulations are not new and have applied to non EU passport holders for a long time**
Some crew may have been aboard for the season and haven't stamped out of the EU and onto the boat. This can mean that they have overstayed their 90 days in the EU and is potentially a big problem.
Stepping onto a boat and marking up the crew list is not enough for non-EU crew. You need to have your passport stamped and only then can your days in the EU be 'stopped'.
While the captain or purser should advise you of this requirement, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure that your passport is correctly stamped and that your visa is valid.
A representative can visit immigration on your behalf and you do not have to attend in person, but this has to be done.
Crew must also stamp OFF the boat before travelling to the airport to fly home. Failing to do this is technically illegal and can land you in trouble with Immigration upon departure.
Leaving the boat after your permissible days have lapsed is not a problem, but does require a transit visa to facilitate your journey home. A transit visa can take at least 48 hours to obtain, so plan ahead.
In all cases, for non-EU crew to fly home, a booked flight must be presented before Immigration will stamp you off. The flight must normally be within 24 hours of you stamping off, or Immigration will turn you away and tell you to return nearer the time.
It has been normal for crew to stay on in the EU (in Spain etc) after leaving a boat, where Immigration have historically wanted to see booked accommodation. Very recently, Immigration in Palma have started to decline stamping passports in this case, saying that departing crew can fly only to their home country. I'll keep an eye on whether this becomes the norm and will keep you posted.