Here is the info I received from my NCLA RA about the MMD application process. Attached to this email was blank MMD application as well as our flight info to and from the REC. As you can tell, you DO NOT NEED three letters of recommendation.
This should be the same info as you will receive:
You have been scheduled to attend a Coast Guard Regional Examination Center (REC) to submit your application for your Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD). Before departing to the REC, however, I want to discuss some important details so the process may run smoothly.
You probably already noticed there are some attachments in this email and you must pay special attention to all because they are very important. The first attachment is a blank MMD application, which you have to print and fill out and present it to the Coast Guard, upon arrival. You are to fill out Section I- Personal data, Section II- check only the box that says Merchant Mariners Document (MMD)-Original, Section III- Narcotics, DWI/ DUI, and Conviction Record. Please sign where it says signature of applicant on Section III, Section V- Mariners Consent (the NDR mandatory section only) and Section VI. The second document attached is the MMD Point of Contact Letter that you must also print out and sign. If you need help or have any questions regarding these documents, please call me right away.
The last attachment contains instructions on what you need to do upon arriving at the Boston Logan Airport. This document has important directions on where you are to go and meet a representative from NCLA. Please contact me should you have any questions or concerns or if you are missing any of the attachments. If your flight is delayed, make sure you speak with the airline representative at the counter so they can schedule you for next flight.
It is imperative that you take with you to the REC the completed forms, along with your original birth certificate, Social Security card, driver’s license and two passport photos. The Coast Guard will request these documents as well and if you do not present them with your application, the Coast Guard will NOT accept your application.
Please note that NCLA is paying for your flight to the Coast Guard Regional Examination Center, if for any reason you arrive without this application and your original documents we will not transport you to apply for your MMD, nor will we pay for your transportation home. If you have to reschedule, PLEASE DO SO AT LEAST 24 HOURS BEFORE.