Integrity Legal

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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