Using the Active Duty Fee Waiver for Uniformed Service Personnel

Coast Guard policy waives merchant mariner credential fees for active duty uniformed service members.

4 mins read・Jun 26, 2024
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Fee Waivers for Merchant Mariner Credentials: A 2020 Coast Guard Policy

In Spring of 2020, the Coast Guard issued a policy letter to waive fees associated with merchant mariner credential applications for active duty members of the uniformed services. Some folks are still unaware their fees can be waived. The Coast Guard will not, however, refund fees already paid. 

Also good news, there is no expiration date on this policy. So, if this is your first merchant mariner credential or a renewal, fees may be waived if you are eligible. 

Who is eligible?

Fee waiver eligibility extends to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, Coast Guard, NOAA and PHS. Active duty members, including reservists and members of the National Guard, if currently on active duty orders at the time of an application submission. 

Applicants who are not eligible include: 

  • Civilian mariners employed on vessels of Military Sealift Command, Army Corps of Engineers, or NOAA.
  • Civilian employees or contractors of any uniformed service.
  • Midshipmen at the US Merchant Marine Academy and cadets at a state maritime academy.

What do I provide to waive my fees?

You can provide a fee waiver letter signed by a command representative on official letterhead or a copy of your active duty orders citing Titles 10 or 14 U.S. Code. 

The National Maritime Center website has templates for each service. You can find the templates at: 

How can I use this?

Because this policy does not expire or indicate a limit, you can use this waiver again and again. Just provide the waiver or your orders in each application and the application and issuance fee will be waived. 

So if you were waiting to group course certificates together for one application or renew and upgrade with one application- do not wait! Submit your upgrade or renewal applications and waive your fees.

Our software specifically helps military and uniformed service members. We hope this made your life a little easier and if you have other questions the MM-SEAS team is always here to help! 

MM-SEAS is free to use on your own and if you need some more personalized help you can upgrade to MM-SEAS Pro inside of the site.

No matter what, when you are ready to submit your application, you can choose to have the MM-SEAS staff create a perfect application, handle the USCG application fees and work with the USCG on your behalf to resolve any issues for a flat fee of $349 or you can choose to submit on your own.

Reference: CG-MMC Policy Letter No. 02-20, dated May 26, 2020 

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About the author

Jen McCullough
Jen McCullough
USCG License Expert

Captain Jen stood up the USCG Military to Mariner Program for service members. She spent time analyzing service training and job experience to merchant mariner credentials. She has worked with other Services to develop credential pathways and has over 10 years of sea experience.

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