Grace Period for Coast Guard License Renewal

Don't lose your USCG license. You have 6 years after it's expired to complete the renewal process and get it back.

4 mins read・Apr 26, 2024
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MM-SEAS USCG Licensing Software with extended USCG license grace period

Is there a grace period for Coast Guard license renewal?

Yes, you have six years from the day your USCG license expired to renew it either with sea days or an open book exam.

The USCG grace period for renewal was extended from the one year grace period to a six year grace period for renewal of your expired MMC on Friday April 26th, 2024.

During these six years you can renew your USCG license as normal but you are not allowed to work on the expired license.

How many months after its expiration date may a Coast Guard credential be renewed without retaking the complete original exams?

A credential can be renewed within 72 months or 6 years after it expires.

If training or open book take home exams from the USCG are required depends on which licenses you hold and how much sea time you have in the last 5 years from the date of your application submission to the USCG. If you are within the 6 year expiration window MM-SEAS USCG license renewal guides will walk you through your renewal process.

How do I renew my Coast Guard License?

For most people your MMC renewal is as simple as filling out the CG-719B application form, including a picture of your most recent MMC, negative drug test documentation, either a TWIC exemption memo or a renewed TWIC and paying the federal fees. The USCG will give you an open book exam if you have less than 360 days of sea time in the previous 5 years starting the day you submit your application to the Coast Guard.

If you do have 360 days of sea time in the last five years you do not need to take the renewal exam.

If you are using MM-SEAS USCG Licensing Software, it will walk you through the steps for your renewal application to make it simple to renew. Create an account and get started using the Create an Account button at the top of the screen.

How do I set up the open book test for renewing my USCG license?

For domestic renewals of USCG licenses such as Master 100 GRT Near Coastal, Able Seaman Limited and 2nd Assistant Engineer you need to provide 360 days at sea in the previous 5 years starting the day you submit your application to the USCG.

The USCG will have you take an open book test if you have less than 360 qualifying sea days in the last 5 years

If you do not have 360 days in the last 5 years, your renewal application is evaluated as normal and then you are issued an Approval to Test letter for your Open Book Take Home Exam. The exam is emailed to you and you just need to look up the answers using any means except another person to pass.

How does STCW renewal work under the grace period?

The STCW Renewal and reinstatement are not affected by the grace period update. You still never fully lose STCW and only need to follow the steps for renewal with less than 360 days of STCW time in the last 5 years.

If you are in the grace period and do not have 360 days on vessels that the "service includes ongoing participation in training and drills relevant to Basic Training" we do not recommend renewing your STCW unless someone else is paying for your renewal courses or you are confident that you are going to need them for work in the near future.

Instead we recommend reinstating your STCW when you need it back down the line as the process to reinstate STCW is the exact same as renewing with less than 360 days of qualifying STCW sea time in the last five years.

What happens when the USCG grace period ends?

If you have let the 6 year grace period pass you can still get your domestic licenses back. Getting your merchant mariner credential reinstated after your grace period is over involves a combination of license renewal and original license paperwork. As an example, you will need to take the courses and/ or exams again but you do not need to provide evidence of sea service.

Document of Continuity

If possible, we always recommend that you renew your license. If something is getting in the way of your MMC renewal you can place your license into continuity. A complete application to place your license into continuity only requires a complete CG-719B form typically with an image of your MMC.

Need to renew, upgrade or get your first USCG license? We're here to help.

No matter if it is your first MMC, your second Upgrade or your fifth Renewal USCG Licensing is easy with MM-SEAS.
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About the author

Nate Gilman
Nate Gilman

Nate has over 15 years of professional maritime experience and has hawsepiped his way to a 3rd Mate Unlimited Endorsement with full STCW compliance. He is proud veteran of the NOAA Commissioned Corps.

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