46 USC 12103 - General eligibility requirements

(a) In General.— 
Except as otherwise provided, a certificate of documentation for a vessel may be issued under this chapter only if the vessel is
(1) wholly owned by one or more individuals or entities described in subsection (b);
(2) at least 5 net tons as measured under part J of this subtitle; and
(3) not documented under the laws of a foreign country.

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(b) Eligible Owners.— 
For purposes of subsection (a)(1), the following are eligible owners:
(1) An individual who is a citizen of the United States.
(2) An association, trust, joint venture, or other entity if
(A) each of its members is a citizen of the United States; and
(B) it is capable of holding title to a vessel under the laws of the United States or a State.
(3) A partnership if
(A) each general partner is a citizen of the United States; and
(B) the controlling interest in the partnership is owned by citizens of the United States.
(4) A corporation if
(A) it is incorporated under the laws of the United States or a State;

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(B) its chief executive officer, by whatever title, and the chairman of its board of directors are citizens of the United States; and
(C) no more of its directors are noncitizens than a minority of the number necessary to constitute a quorum.
(5) The United States Government.
(6) The government of a State.
(c) Temporary Certificates Prior to Measurement.— 
Notwithstanding subsection (a)(2), the Secretary may issue a temporary certificate of documentation for a vessel before it is measured.