Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie
Sachgebiet S 12 - Befähigung von Seeleuten
Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 78
20359 Hamburg


Phone: +49 40 31 90-71 25
Fax: +49 40 31 90-50 10



Webcode for this Content: 16569275

Seafarer's card

Voluntary seafarer’s card

The Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency) issues a proof of professional sea service. This proof is called „seafarer’s card" ("Seeleute-Ausweis) and has a validity of ten years.

  • Possession of such card is voluntary and no prerequisite for employment on merchant ships under German flag. It is issued upon application.
  • The certificate serves only to prove professional sea service in ocean shipping and neither substitutes a passport nor an official identification.
  • Proof of professional sea service in ocean shipping must be provided by means of a confirmation from the Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency) or by proof of work in any other capacity on board a merchant ship under the German flag.

German seafarer's card (sample front)German seafarer's card (sample back)

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Former seaman's books can be used until 2019

Seafarers can still use the previous seaman's books as an equivalent to the seafarer's card until 31. May 2019 as proof of their occupation in marine traffic. The Seeleute-Befähigungsverordnung (seafarers competency ordinance) contains the relevant transitional regulation. New seaman's books have not been issued since 2013.

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Application form and contact details

Data protection declaration

In case of further questions please refer to our experts and this is where you can find our opening hours. Applications can also be submitted personally at the Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency). Follow the link for location and directions.

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