Getting paid onboard
How do employees get paid whilst working onboard?
Do people use offshore bank accounts, as I presume if you get paid to a regular bank account you are going to be taxed?
I've only worked for 2 lines (NCL and RCCL) and we're paid in USD twice a month - actual bills. US citizens have federal taxes taken out, and the only other deduction I've seen is for some Filipino crew.
Both lines had money orders on sale in the crew office. RCCL's crew office can wire money to banks in most countries provided a wire account has been set up by the crewmember.
Many crewmembers will hold on to their cash until the end of the contract (and take a big risk!) and many make a mad dash to the closest Western Union in the next available port.
I think to open an off-shore account, you need to have a SIGNIFICANT amount to deposit first - and your average crew probably doesn't have that :D
If you're based out of the States, some non-US citizens have opened a USD account at Bank of America. And getting a US based debit/credit card through BOA is handy for many.
If you have any bills or reoccurring debt - it's wise to make sure everything is online so to be able to pay them on time. Putting things in the post can be dodgy in some ports.
Thanks SZ for the useful info.
I know in the UK if you spend a certain time out of the country every year, then you are not eligible for tax, or it is significantly reduced.
If one has an international bank account, can the cruise line just pay straight into that.
Also you mentioned about non-us citizens based in the US and opening a US bank account.
As a non US citizen can you stay in the US between contracts on your time off? Probably should post that as a separate question :D
not sure what you mean by "international bank account" - those I know just have their 'normal' band account in whatever country they're from. i.e. from the UK - Barclays, NatWest, etc, etc. Procedure may vary on the cruise line . . .
If you work on a ship based out of States, and are not a US citizen - you'll be getting a C1D Seaman's visa. You'd need to leave the country within a day or so, and then re-enter on a tourist visa. I think this question 'may' be been discussed on this forum before - so try a search
If you spend (i think) 180+ days of a tax year overseas you become exempt from paying tax.
Normally the Crew Purser has the facility to safekeep monies for you until the end of your contract. During a 6 month contract I used to save each month and then wire money back to my UK account just before I disembarked.
If you have any personal investments (ie private pension) speak to a financial advisor as there are great benefits and tax relief if you continue to invest whilst your overseas.
For the first 3 years I spent back in the UK after working on ships I had to complete a self assessment at the end of the tax year, so keep a record of your wages and contract dates as you may have to provide them. They won't claim any tax back from you, but they may need proof you were actually working abroad.
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