Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘J1 Visa Thailand’

5th July 2018

It would appear that Thailand is not the only jurisdiction which is tightening immigration regulations and enforcement. In recent weeks, an announcement from the agency which oversees immigration matters is likely to have a significant impact upon future immigrants and non-immigrants alike. For example, in a recent press release from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) it was noted that certain non-immigrants such as J-1, F-1, and M-1 visa holders will no longer be granted an effective reprieve from accruing unlawful presence in the USA through use of so-called “duration of status” exemption.

What is “duration of status”? Duration of status (also referred to as “DS”, “D of S”, or D/S in certain immigration circles) refers to the status by which certain non-immigrant are admitted into the United States. In this blogger’s opinion it was designed to streamline immigration functions as certain exchange visitor programs and course curricula do not necessarily have a definite end date (this is especially the case with so-called practicum courses following after a more organized academic schedule). Due to the fact that it is somewhat difficult to nail down policymakers allowed for “duration of status” to act as a sort of floating grace period. In the past, those admitted in this status were unable to accrue unlawful presence once admitted even where a course or other reason for admission had clearly terminated. This lead to what some would describe as abuse of the system. This was simply a “loophole” in the rules that allowed such individuals to obtain later immigration benefits without the need to worry about an finding of inadmissibility for overstay since unlawful presence could not ever be determined. Pursuant to a recent announcement from USCIS this appears to be changing. To quote directly from the USCIS website:

Individuals in F, J, or M status who fail to maintain their status on or after Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after they no longer pursue the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity;
  • The day after completing the course of study or program, including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period;
  • The day after the I-94 expires; or
  • The day after an immigration judge, or in certain cases, the BIA, orders them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

This change in policy will have a significant impact upon those who have been admitted to the USA in one of the above categories. Moreover, those previously admitted in duration of status who are no longer pursuing the program for which they were admitted are well advised to consult an immigration attorney soon in order to understand their options. Obviously, failure to remain in lawful status could harm future applications for further immigration benefits pursuant to the forthcoming rule change. It seems logical to infer that more findings of accrued unlawful presence are likely to be made in future immigration cases and in that case such matters will only be remedied through use of an I-601 waiver petition.

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14th April 2010

ในกระทู้นี้เราจะกล่าวถึง Notice of Action 1 หรือ NOA 1 เพื่อแสดงคำนิยามทางกฎหมายคนเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาที่แม่นยำให้แก่ผู้ที่กำลังจะขอวีซ่าอเมริกาจากประเทศไทย

ในกรณีเกี่ยวกับคนเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาหลายๆเรื่อง โดยเฉพาะเรื่องเกี่ยวกับการเข้าเมืองด้วยจุดประสงค์ทางครอบครัว คำขอจะต้องได้รับการอนุมัติจาก USCIS เสียก่อน หน่วยงานนี้เป็นหนึ่งในหน่วยงานที่ขึ้นตรงกับกระทรวงความมั่นคงสหรัฐอเมริกา (DHS)

เมื่อคู่รักเลือกที่จะยื่นขอวีซ่าสหรัฐอเมริกา ก็มักจะเป็นวีซ่า CR 1 , IR 1, K3 หรือ K 1 วีซ่า CR 1, IR 1 และ K 3 เป็นวีซ่าประเภทคู่สมรสอเมริกาทั้งหมด ในขณะที่วีซ่า K 1 เป็นวีซ่าคู่หมั้น วีซ่าประเภทเหล่านี้จะต้องได้รับการอนุมัติจาก USCIS ก่อนที่จะมีการกำหนดสัมภาษณ์ ในทางกลับกันวีซ่า B1, B2, F1 และ J1 เป็นวีซ่าไม่อพยพ ( ซึ่งไม่อนุญาตให้มีเจตนาในการเข้าเมืองเพื่อวัตถุประสงค์อื่นอีก ) และไม่จำต้องได้รับการอนุมัติจาก USCIS เสียก่อน ข้อควรสังเกตคือวีซ่าไม่อพยพประเภทเหล่านี้เป็นการยากที่จะขอสำหรับคนรักของบุคคลสัญชาติอเมริกันตามมาตรา 214b แห่งพระราชบัญญัติคนเข้าเมืองและสัญชาติ มาตรานี้ได้วางหลักถึงข้อสันนิษฐานที่จะต้องทำให้ปราศจากความสงสัยให้ได้ก่อนที่จะออกวีซ่าให้

เมื่อบุคคลสัญชาติอเมริกันยื่นคำขอวีซ่า K1, K3, CR1 หรือ IR1 จะต้องยื่นคำขอไปยัง USCIS เสียก่อน มีศูนย์บริการ USCIS อยู่สองแห่งโดยขึ้นอยู่กับภูมิลำเนาของผู้ยื่นขอชาวอเมริกัน ผู้ยื่นคำขอจะต้องยื่นคำขอต่อ USCIS และจะมีการออกใบรับให้เรียกว่า Notice of Action 1 (NOA1 ) ใบรับนี้จะแสดงชื่อผู้ยื่นคำขอและผู้รับผลประโยชน์ รวมถึงวันที่รับเรื่องและวันที่ออกใบรับ ใบรับนี้จะแสดงหมายเลขเรื่องด้วย

สำหรับผู้ที่ใช้บริการทนายความทำวีซ่าอเมริกา สำเนา Notice of Action 1 จะถูกส่งไปยังทนายความในกรณีที่ทนายความได้ยื่นแบบ G28 เข้าไปด้วยกับคำขอวีซ่า ก่อนทีจะใช้บริการกับทนายคนใด คุณควรตรวจสอบให้แน่ใจว่าจะมีการยื่นแบบ G28 ด้วยเนื่องจากมันค่อนข้างมีความสัมพันธ์ต่อการดำเนินการตามคำขอวีซ่า และบริษัทวีซ่าไม่สามารถกระทำการแทนลูกค้าต่อ USCIS ได้ดังนั้นน่าจะเป็นการดีที่จะตรวจสอบคุณสมบัติของบุคคลที่คุณต้องการให้เป็นตัวแทนให้ และโชคไม่ดีที่ในประเทศไทยมีผู้ให้บริการที่ไม่ได้รับอนุญาติอยู่มากมายที่ปฏิบัติงานเช่นทนายความมีใบอนุญาติของสหรัฐอเมริกา

Notice of Action 1 นั้นเป็นคนละตัวกับจดหมายจากสถานทูตอเมริกาประจำประเทศไทย จดหมายนี้เรียกว่า Packet 3 และจะถูกส่งในช่วงท้ายๆของกระบวนการคนเข้าเมืองแล้วเท่านั้น

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9th February 2010

The method of making an appointment at the US Embassy in Bangkok depends upon the reason for the appointment. For example, the appointment process for obtaining a Consular Report of Birth Abroad is different than the process for obtaining an appointment for a non-immigrant visa interview.

Many expatriates in Thailand seek such services as: Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (a document akin to a birth certificate) , notarization, visa page replacement, and new passport issuance. Virtually all of the issues surrounding these services can be dealt with at the American Citizen Services Section of the United States Embassy in Bangkok.  For those interested in making an appointment with the American Citizen Services Section of the US Embassy in Bangkok, it may be wise to click on this link.

For those who need a non-immigrant visa to the United States a visa interview appointment will likely be required. For those unfamiliar with the US visa process, a non-immigrant visa is granted to an individual who does not have the intention of remaining in the USA. Popular non-immigrant visa categories are the J1 visa, the F1 visa, the B1 visa, and the B2 visa (also known as a Tourist visa). The aforementioned visa categories are not the only non-immigrant visas, but they are currently the most popular among those interviewing at the US Embassy in Bangkok. For those interested in more information about non-immigrant visas please click here.

Another common reason for needing an appointment at the US Embassy in Bangkok is the need to finish the American Immigration process. For those who wish to immigrate to the United States, in order for a US visa to be issued, the applicant must undergo a visa interview. In Thailand, the popular immigrant visas are category CR-1 and IR-1 for Thai spouses. Although not immigrant visas in the strict sense of the word, the K1 visa and the K3 visa are treated as immigrant visas because they are dual intent travel documents. A dual intent visa (travel document) is designed for a foreign national to enter the United States in non-immigrant status with the option of adjusting status to that of an Immigrant at a later date. For many, the Immigrant visa process is time consuming and the final phase of the process can cause anxiety in many applicants. However, for the applicant who tells the truth and is forthright in their application, there is usually no reason to be anxious as the visa interview is nothing more than an exercise of due diligence on the part of the Consular officers. For more on immigrant visas please click here.

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9th January 2010

For a more detailed look at the J1 visa please see our main J1 visa page at: J1 visa Thailand. For further information about United States Immigration in general please see: US Visa Thailand.

The J1 Visa in 2010

As the new year begins this author is presented with an opportunity to re-explain the J1 visa and how it can be used by those Thais thinking of traveling to the United States of America as an Exchange Visitor. It is also an opportunity to briefly discuss some of the recently proposed changes to the J-1 visa rules and the future of the J1 visa in its current form.

For those who are not familiar with the J1 visa this visa category was designed to allow foreign nationals to come to the United States for limited employment purposes, specialized education, or cultural exchange. Some of those who use a J-1 visa are required to remain outside of the USA for statutorily specified period of time after their initial stay in the United States. These people are subject to what is called the Foreign Residence Requirement and cannot reenter the USA within 2 years after their initial J-1 visa without first obtaining a waiver.

Recently the United States Department of State proposed a rule that may have had a major impact upon those applying for a J1 visa. In a previous post on this blog, the issues surrounding this proposed rule were discussed, but the American Immigration Lawyers Association is now reporting that this proposed rule is being withdrawn by the American State Department. To quote directly from the AILA website:

“On December 23, 2009 the State Department published in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled Exchange Visitor Program– Secondary School Students. The Department revised existing regulations to provide greater specificity and clarity to sponsors of the Secondary School Student category with respect to the execution of sponsor oversight responsibilities under the exchange visitor program. This rule is being withdrawn because it was submitted prior to OMB completing review. The proposed rule is withdrawn in its entirety.”

Since this rule has been withdrawn there have been those who have noted that the regulations regarding the J-1 visa did not need to be modified. The proposed rule was withdrawn because it was promulgated before a required review period had elapsed. Therefore, there is good reason to believe that this proposed rule may be re-promulgated in the future. It remains to be seen how this will affect those applying for a J1 visa, but it would seem likely that an adoption of any new rule would, at least at first, create some confusion as the new regulations are implemented.

Since the J1 visa is a non-immigrant visa similar to a US tourist visa, it may be possible to apply for, and hopefully obtain, it at both a US Embassy or US Consulate. In Thailand, one could apply for this visa at either the US Consulate in Chiang Mai or the US Embassy in Bangkok depending upon where the applicant resides.

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19th December 2009

The United States Department of State wishes to amend the current rule regarding the fees to be charged to applicants for non-immigrant visas overseas. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has recently released information regarding the proposed rule change. Below is a direct quote from this announcement:

“This rule amends the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services (Schedule) for nonimmigrant visa application and border crossing card processing fees. The rule raises from $131 to $140 the fee charged for the processing of an application for most non-petition-based nonimmigrant visas…The Department of State is adjusting the fees to ensure that sufficient resources are available to meet the costs of providing consular services in light of an independent cost of service study’s findings that the U.S. Government is not fully covering its costs for the processing of these visas under the current cost structure.”

Although it is fairly self evident that this proposed rule change will affect non-immigrant visa categories such as the J1 visa, the F1 visa, the B1 visa, and the B2 visa (commonly referred to as the US Tourist Visa) there is some question as to whether or not this rule change will have an impact upon those seeking a K1 visa or a K3 visa. As can be read in the above quotation, the rule should only impact “non-petition based non-immigrant visas…” As K1 visa applications and K3 visa applications are both based upon an underlying visa petition made to USCIS this proposed rule begs the question: how will it impact K visa applicants?

The K1 visa and the K3 visa are non-immigrant dual intent visas. They are non-immigrant in that they do not allow the visa holder to remain in the United States indefinitely upon entry, but they allow for the bearer to apply for adjustment of status at a later date (provided certain prerequisites are met; in the case of the K1, marriage to the original petitioner).

This author believes that is is likely that the final rule will include a provisions raising the fees for the K visas as well as the other non-immigrant visa categories. Immigrant visa fees are in a separate category and for those filing a petition in the USA, these fess are paid directly to the National Visa Center (NVC). Many people are under the mistaken impression that in family visa cases the fees paid initially to USCIS are all-inclusive. This is not the case as the US Embassies and US Consulates are under the jurisdiction of DOS while USCIS is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) therefore, processing fees must be made to each agency at different stages.

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13th December 2009

J-1 visas are meant for those who are entering an exchange visitor program or traveling to the USA for the purpose of doing specific types of work (most notably: Au pair child care). This visa has been in existence for many years and the rules regarding issuance have not be modified in a long while.

Recently the American State Department has proposed making changes to the system whereby foreign nationals obtain the J1 Exchange visitor visa. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has recently promulgated comments on the proposed changes in an effort to provide a different perspective to those who will ultimately pass these rules. In a recent press release AILA stated:

“We commend the United States Department of State (the Department) for acting on its goals to update and improve the Exchange Visitor Program through the first significant proposed rulemaking since 1993. We also recognize and applaud the Department’s efforts to increase overall program oversight, but we urge the Department not to do so at the risk of weakening the very foundation on which the J-1 program rests.”

Not everything in this press release was laudatory as the Association also noted that some of the proposed rule changes might actually undermine the original intent of the J1 visa legislation:

“[W]hile we recognize that the Department [of State] must demand accountability on the part of sponsors of the J-1 program, we fear that it has used the medium of this proposed regulation as a means of eroding the range and number of opportunities for young men and women to learn about our culture and return to share important skills and insights with their compatriots. AILA recognizes the major role that the Fulbright-Hays Act has played for nearly 50 years to instill trust and promote understanding, education, and training among people of dramatically divergent cultures and for the mutual benefit of our people as well as the people of nations struggling to achieve financial and
cultural independence. It is crucial that the full range of these opportunities continues to exist.”

The J-1 visa is an example of a valuable method not only for providing advanced education to foreign nationals, but also for spreading American culture and American ideas to other countries. Undermining this system of cross-cultural exchange would indeed be detrimental. However, the US State Department does have an obligation to investigate candidates and sponsors for J-1 Exchange Visitor visas in an effort to be certain that the visa is being issued for appropriate reasons and to appropriate applicants. Hopefully, the American State Department can find a proper balance whereby the security needs of American Citizens are protected while cross-cultural exchange is still facilitated. As with many non-immigrant visas, both the US Embassy in Bangkok and the US Consulate in Chiang Mai can issue such travel documents to applicants in Thailand.

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10th July 2009

Many people around the globe long to travel to the United States. Thailand is no different as many Thai nationals seek entrance to the United States as either immigrants or non-immigrants. Those entering with non-immigrant status tend to be entering on a US tourist visa, US student visa, or an Exchange Visitor Visa. The Exchange Visitor Visa is often referred to by its Immigration category: the J1 visa. There are certain requirements for obtaining a J1 visa and it is a somewhat unique visa because it confers certain rights and restrictions not imposed upon non-immigrants entering the United States upon visas in other categories.

While the Department of Homeland Security is the primary agency with the mandate to facilitate the obtainment of exchange visitor visas, the Department delegates the task of exchange sponsorship to others, namely businesses, organizations, and other government agencies. Those organizations responsible for carrying out this Department of Homeland Security delegated mandate assist J1 applicants in entering the United states of America in order to engage in one of the following vocations:

1. Au pair (Nanny)

2. Camp Counselor

3. Student, college/university

4. Student, secondary

5. Government Visitor

6. International Visitor (reserved for U.S. Department of State use)

7. Alien physician

8. Professor

9. Research Scholar

10. Short-term Scholar

11. Specialist

12. Summer work/travel

13. Teacher

14. Trainee

For more information on each of these vocations please see the United States Department of State Website

Those wishing to engage in the above activity may be eligible to receive a J1 visa. That being said, documentation and interviews will most likely be required before the J-1 visa will be issued by the US Embassy in Thailand. As with any United States Visa, final visa application approval is provided by US State Department consular officers working at posts in Thailand. There are two diplomatic posts in Thailand which handle J1 visa petitions: the US Embassy in Bangkok (already mentioned) and the United States Consulate General in Chiang Mai.

As mentioned previously on this website, those seeking to bring a loved one to the United States on a J-1 visa because they wish to bypass comparatively longer processing times for family based visas should think twice before doing so. First of all, obtaining a non-immigrant visa when the applicant actually has immigrant intent is viewed by US officials as defrauding the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Further, obtaining and entering the USA on a J1 visa may be a bad tactical decision for those wishing to bypass K-1 visa or K-3 visa wait times because a J1 visa entrant may have a 2 year foreign residency requirement imposed upon them before they may reenter the United States. As a general rule, if one wishes to bring a loved one to the USA on a Fiance visa or Marriage visa, then it is best to use those designated visa categories rather than the J-1 visa.

(Please be aware that none of the above is intended for any use other than education. This is not legal advice. For legal advice contact a licensed US Attorney. No attorney-client relationship shall be created between the author and any reader of this posting.)

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