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crew an OCS unit or approving the use of certain foreign nationals because they are not members of the regular complement. Based on this letter, a B-1 (OCS) visa may be issued by a U.S. consulate at an American Embassy for the purpose specified in the exemption letter in accordance with Department of State policy. Due to the increased security interests after September 11, 2001, in monitoring individuals that enter the United States, persons engaged in OCS activities must now possess a B-1 (OCS) visa or they will not be allowed to proceed offshore to engage in OCS activities or be allowed off the vessel ashore in the United States except under armed guard for deportation. Vessels making port calls in the United States are required to make advance notice of arrival reports, including providing citizenship and visa details, in order for Customs and Border Protection offi- cials to verify that foreign citizens engaged in OCS activities maintain valid B-1 (OCS) visas. Current Application of the Immigration Laws to the OCS In 1996, the federal courts addressed the issue of whether the immigration laws of the United States applied to aliens working on the OCS constructing oil platforms for U.S. companies. Specifically, the court held that the immigration laws of the United States do not govern aliens operating on OCS units and that such aliens may engage in OCS activities as long as exemptions have been obtained under the manning requirements of the OCSLA as discussed above. In short, the court held, consistent with a determination made by the Department of Justice, that the OCSLA is a self-contained Congressional statement of the extent to which principles of immigration control are to be applied and that the Immigration and Nationality Act imposes no further restrictions. Furthermore, the court concluded that the OCSLA regime provides a detailed system governing who may work on vessels and offshore platforms, balancing the dual concerns providing the fullest employment of U.S. cit- 36 · MarineNews · November 2006 (Photo: Don Sutherland)