Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘US Student Visa’

7th August 2013

The administration of this blog routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of the various US Embassies and US Consulates in the Southeast Asia region to provide a single source for such information to Americans who frequently travel in the region as well as foreign nationals who may be seeking services at such posts. The following is quoted directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Vientiane, Laos:

Date Day Holiday
January 1 Tuesday New Year’s Day
January 21 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
February 18 Monday Presidents’ Day
March 8 Friday International Women’s Day
April 15-17 Monday – Wednesday Lao New Year
May 1 Wednesday Lao Labor Day
May 27 Monday Memorial Day
July 4 Thursday Independence Day
September 2 Monday Labor Day
October 14 Monday Columbus Day
October 21 Monday Boat Racing Festival
November 11 Monday Veteran’s Day
November 18 Monday That Luang Festival
November 28 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
December 2 Monday Lao National Day
December 25 Wednesday Christmas Day

Substitution days. Please note: According to the prevailing practice in Laos, official holidays which fall on Saturday will be observed on the preceding Friday and Sunday on the following Monday.

Each year, a significant number of Americans travel to a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad in order to request services such as Passport renewal, additional visa pages, notarization, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA), and much more. Those wishing to avail themselves of these services are encouraged to contact American Citizen Services at the US Embassy or US Consulate concerned. In most cases, Americans are well-advised to make an appointment prior to traveling to the post as some Embassies and Consulates require a prior appointment while others can process a request much more quickly if an appointment has been made before arrival at the post.

Foreign nationals, especially those wishing to apply for a US visa, are also occasionally in need of access to a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. In circumstances where a US visa is being sought it is generally a requirement that the foreign national schedule an appointment for visa interview prior to traveling to the post. Applicants for a US Tourist Visa (B-2 visa), US Business Visa (B-1 visa), US Student Visa (F-1 visa), or an Exchange Worker Visa (J-1 visa) are usually interviewed by a Consular Officer with a Non-immigrant visa unit. Meanwhile, those seeking an IR-1 visa (immigrant relative visa), CR-1 visa (conditional immigrant visa for an immigrant relative), K-3 visa (non-immigrant spouse visa), or a K-1 visa (US fiance visa for the fiance or fiancee of an American Citizen) are usually required to undergo an interview before a Consular Officer under the Immigrant Visa Section of the Consular Post.

more Comments: 04

24th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has made an announcement regarding issuance of US student visas to Iranian nationals. To quote directly from the Still4Hill blog:

I am very pleased to announce a big step forward in the Obama Administration’s support of the Iranian people. Under our old visa policy, Iranian students and exchange visitors were eligible for visas that lasted for only three months and could be used to enter the country just one time. As of today, that has changed. They are now eligible for two-year, multiple entry visas. This gives young Iranians the opportunity to return home for family events, to participate in internships, to travel outside the United States—and they won’t need to get a new visa every time. I’ve heard from many Iranian students and Iranian Americans that you wanted this change. So I want you to know that we are listening to your concerns. We want more dialogue and more exchange with those of you who are shaping Iran’s future. We want to be able to share with you what we think is great about America…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more about this story.

The US Student Visa, also referred to by the categorical title of F-1 visa, is a very popular travel document among foreign nationals who wish to travel from their home country to the United States in order to undertake a course of study. This visa category is akin to the US tourist visa (B-2 visa) insofar as both visas require the adjudication of a visa application at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. The US student visa is also a non-immigrant visa. It is important to note this fact because it implies that any application for such a visa must survive scrutiny pursuant to section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. Not all non-immigrant visa applications are scrutinized pursuant to 214(b), most notably the L-1 visa, but many popular categories require such scrutiny.

Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act creates the rebuttable presumption that a non-immigrant visa applicant is actually an undisclosed intending immigrant to the United States. This presumption can only be overcome by the applicant providing affirmative proof that they have a strong incentive to leave the United States rather than remain. For many, overcoming such a presumption can be difficult, but it should not be viewed as impossible as many US non-immigrant visas are issued each year.

For related information please see: J-1 visa.

more Comments: 04

4th December 2010

Those who read this blog on a regular basis will no doubt realize that when new information regarding Consular processing comes out this administration tries to post it in an effort to provide insight to those processing a visa application through the relevant Post. It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Embassy in Manila, Philippines is changing their protocols for Immigrant visa processing. The following is a brief quotation from the official website of the US Embassy in Manila:

Effective December 1, 2010, various changes to immigrant visa services are as follows:

  • Immigrant visa applicants whose appointments have not been scheduled through the National Visa Center (NVC) (i.e., immigrant visa petitions approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services Manila) may request a visa appointment by visiting the U.S. Embassy in Manila’s Visa Information and Appointment Service online at or by calling (632) 982-5555. The Visa Information and Appointment Service is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Manila time), except on U.S. and Philippine holidays. Callers in the U.S. should call (214) 571-1600, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Callers are able to speak with an English-, Tagalog-, Ilocano- or Cebuano-speaking operator.
  • Visa Information and Appointment Service representatives can provide information on visa appointment-related inquiries only. Inquiries on a specific case may be directed to the Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit by e-mail at [email protected] or by fax at (632) 301-2591. Petitioners and applicants may also call the IV Inquiry line at (632) 301-2000, extension 5184 or 5185 during normal business hours.
  • Immigrant visa applicants who have been scheduled by the NVC for a visa appointment at the Embassy are required to visit the online appointment website to register their delivery address.
  • K visa applicants who have been notified by the Embassy to prepare for their interview, must pay the visa application fee of $350 before they can request a visa appointment via the online appointment website or the Visa Call Center

It should be noted that the above quotation does not encompass all of the information provided upon the official website. Those interested in obtaining further information are encouraged to correspond directly with either an American immigration attorney or the US Embassy in the Philippines.

The Consular Processing phase is usually the last phase of the US visa process for those with immigrant intent. Although in certain cases, a 221g refusal may be issued if the adjudicating Consular Officer feels that further documentation is required to process an application. Furthermore, a visa application may be denied if it is found that a legal grounds of inadmissibility exists in a given case. Under such circumstances, it may be possible to remedy the denial through use of an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility.

In American family based visa cases, the Immigrant Visa Unit of a US Consulate abroad is responsible for the adjudication of a visa application for those seeking a K1 visa, K3 visa, CR-1 visa, or an IR-1 visa.  Those seeking a non-immigrant visa such as a B1 visa (US Business Visa), B2 visa (US Tourist Visa), F1 visa (US Student Visa), or J1 visa (Cultural Exchange Visa) must interview with an adjudicator at the Non-immigrant visa unit of the Post with Consular jurisdiction to adjudicate a visa application.

For related information please see: US Embassy Philippines.

more Comments: 04

23rd August 2010

Laypeople sometimes confuse the process of adjustment of status with the change of status process. This confusion is directly related to the subject of this post: change of status from US Tourist Visa status to US Student Visa status. Many are under the mistaken impression that it is legal to attend school in the USA on a tourist visa. This is not the case. In a recent announcement promulgated by the US Department of Homeland Security and distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the question was posed: “Is it permissible to enroll in school while in B-1/B-2 status?” The answer is quoted directly from the aforementioned announcement:

No, it is not. The regulations, at 8 CFR 214.2(b)(7), specifically prohibit study in the United States while in B-1 or B-2 status.

Before enrolling in classes, individuals who are in B-1 or B-2 status must first acquire F-1 (academic student) or M-1 (vocational student) status. Enrolling in classes while in B-1/B-2 status will result in a status violation. Individuals in B-1 or B-2 status, who have violated their nonimmigrant status by enrolling in classes, are not eligible to extend their B status or change to F-1 or M-1 status. Theseregulations provide no exceptions.

If you currently hold B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant status and would like to enroll in classes, you may apply for a change of status to F-1 or M-1, as appropriate, if:

You have not yet enrolled in classes
Your current status has not expired
You have not engaged in unauthorized employment

To change your nonimmigrant status from B-1/B-2 to F-1 or M-1, you must file an Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539), and include the required fee and documents listed in the filing instructions.

Please Note:

If you enroll in classes before USCIS approves your Form I-539, you will be ineligible to change your nonimmigrant status from B to F or M. If you are applying to extend your B-1/B-2 stay and you have already enrolled in classes, USCIS cannot approve your B-1/B-2 extension because of the status violation.

For some, the change of status process can be confusing and difficult as few are familiar with DHS forms and protocols, but for those who obtain an F1 visa, the educational rewards can offset the time and resources expended obtaining the visa. Those who are not eligible to receive a change of status may find the following excerpt from the previously mentioned announcement helpful:

If you are not eligible to change your nonimmigrant status to F-1 or M-1, you may apply for an F-1 or M-1 visa at a consular post abroad…We encourage all students and prospective students to work closely with their designated school official (DSO) to coordinate the timing of applying for change of status and enrolling in classes.

Those staying in the United States on any type of visa are required by law to fully comply with the terms of their visa. Failure to do so could lead to severe civil and criminal penalties. Those wishing to travel to the United States of America are well advised to seek the type of visa that truly comports with proposed activity in the USA. As extraneous circumstances can cause unforeseen problems it may be necessary to apply for a change of status if one’s current visa does not provide proper benefits.

Adjustment of status, which can be confused with changing status, is the process of switching a foreign national from a non-immigrant visa to Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card). Those traveling to the United States of America on a K1 visa must adjust their status within 90 days of their arrival after their marriage to the US Citizen petitioner.

For more about adjusting status please see: adjustment of status.

more Comments: 04

8th January 2010

The US F1 Student Visa in 2010

Posted by : admin

For detailed information about F-1 Student Visas please see: F1 Visa Thailand. For further reading about American Immigration from Thailand please see: US Visa Thailand.

The F-1 Visa in 2010

Unlike the J1 visa, the F1 Student Visa rules were left unmodified with no proposals for modification in 2009. That being said, the F1 visa could turn out to be a problem for those later filing for a family visa category such as a K-1 or K-3. This can be attributed to the fact that some of those who enter the United States on an initial F-1 visa either overstay their visa or remain for a long period of time in “duration of status.” Duration of status means that the visa holder is in status so long as underlying reason for traveling to the United States still exists. Those who remain for a long period of time in duration of status are unlikely to be later found inadmissible due to overstay as they usually do not accrue unlawful presence. However, their application and file may be placed into administrative processing while the Consular Officers make a determination regarding the applicant’s previous status in the United States. In some ways, this can be more frustrating than a finding of inadmissibility because Administrative Processing can take a great deal of time as the Consular Officers diligently research the applicant’s immigration history.

The F1 visa in Thailand is similar to the J1 visa in Thailand because the applicant may interview at the US Consulate in Chiang Mai rather than the US Embassy in Bangkok if the applicant lives in the Chiang Mai Consular district. One should not assume that one post is any “better,” than the other because at either post, the Consular Officers still make their decisions based upon the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM). It has been the author’s opinion that Consular Officers adjudicate cases “by the book,” and therefore any type of “forum shopping,” could be counterproductive.

Unlike a K1 visa, the F-1 visa is not a dual intent travel document so the Consular Officer must make a presumption of immigrant intent pursuant to section 214b of the INA. In order to overcome this presumption, the F1 visa applicant must demonstrate that they have “strong ties,” to Thailand and do not intend to remain in the United States past the expiration of their visa. The F-1 visa applicant must further prove that he or she has the financial resources necessary to pay for the educational course of study as well as living expenses in the US.

more Comments: 04

20th December 2009

In a previous post on this blog this author brought up the fact that the Department of State is raising the fees for non-immigrant visas such as the US Tourist Visa, the Exchange Visitor Visa, and the US Student Visa. However, it was not clear just how this proposed fee increase would effect other types of US visas. The Department of State recently promulgated a press release discussing the impact of the proposed rule change. This author came by this press release thanks to AILA. To quote this press release:

“Under the proposed rule, applicants for all visas that are not petition-based, including B1/B2 tourist and business visitor visas and all student and exchange-visitor visas, would pay a fee of $140.

Applicants for petition-based visas would pay an application fee of $150. These categories include:

H visa for temporary workers and trainees
L visa for intracompany transferees
O visa for aliens with extraordinary ability
P visa for athletes, artists and entertainers
Q visa for international cultural exchange visitors
R visa for religious occupations

The application fee for K visas for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens would be $350. The fee for E visas for treaty-traders and treaty-investors would be $390. The Department will not begin collecting the new proposed fees until it considers
public comments and publishes a final rule.”

This author added the above italics for emphasis because this is a substantial fee increase compared to the current amount that must be paid in connection with K visas. At the time of this writing, the Consular processing fee paid at the US Embassy in Bangkok or the US Consulate in Chiang Mai is $131. The proposed rule would increase this fee to $350. The US State Department has noted that the increase in fees is necessary because the K1 visa and the K3 visa require more diligent adjudication on the part of Consular Officers. This author would generally agree with this statement as it has been his opinion that Consular Officers diligently investigate and judge these petitions in an effort to provide a fair, thorough, and efficient adjudication. That being said, this fee increase will probably have a major impact upon those who have already filed for K1 and K3 visa benefits. Hopefully, these fee increases will come into effect after a grace period whereby those who filed before the fee increase will be able to enjoy the previously lower fee while new applications will have the fee increase phased in. However, the logistics of this proposal may be cost prohibitive as keeping track of previously filed cases could be highly labor intensive.

For more information on this and other US Immigration matters please see: US Visa Thailand.

more Comments: 04

12th September 2009

Every year, many people from all over the world enter the United States of America and remain temporarily. As previously mentioned on this blog and on this website, there are many different types of non-immigrant visas for those who wish to go to the United States and remain for a short period of time or for a particular endeavor which has a definitive chronological endpoint.

United States Tourist visas are a prime example of a non-immigrant category visa that can grant the applicant a long duration of stay. This type of visa is meant for those entering the USA for recreational purposes who intend to leave after their vacation has ended. US Student visas are meant for those who are traveling to the United States to engage in a course of study. Finally American Exchange visitor visas are designed for those who wish to travel to America to live and/or work in a travel exchange program.

With any of the aforementioned visa categories the underlying visa’s validity has an end date. When the non-immigrant visa’s expiration date arrives, the applicant must either depart the United States or seek an extension. An US visa extension is similar to a Thai visa extension in that the applicant must apply for the extension while in the country and if granted, the applicant may remain for longer than the initial visa’s validity.

Those who do not depart or extend are considered in violation of their visa as they are overstaying its validity. In US Immigration circles, the alien is deemed to be in the United States “on overstay.” The longer a violator remains in the United States the higher the probability that the violator will be caught and either removed from the country or given the option to voluntarily depart.

After departing the United States due to overstay, the alien may be deemed inadmissible depending upon the duration of the overstay. Further, the duration of the bar on reentry depends upon how long the violator overstayed. The alien could be subjected to a 10 year bar if he remained in the US without lawful status for a long enough period of time.

In cases involving inadmissibility based upon overstay it may be possible to obtain a waiver of the inadmissibility. The applicant will need to file an I-601 waiver in order to clear up the overstay issue because if the waiver is granted the applicant will be allowed to reenter the country on either an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

If the alien was removed from the United States because of an overstay, it may be necessary to file an I-212 application for permission to apply for reentry. That being said, either application is approved only at the discretion of the adjudicating officer at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.

more Comments: 04

11th July 2009

Even with the current economy in a somewhat less-than-perfect state, the United States of America still boasts some of the best educational centers in the world. The United State has a great many post-secondary academic institutions and many of these institutions are considered by instructors, teachers, and professors to be the pinnacle of learning in the specialized fields on offer. As a result of America’s fairly unique position as a center of learning, many people from all over the world seek to travel to American in order to study. For nationals of many countries, traveling to the United States of America can a bit difficult, particularly if their country of origin is not a party to the US visa waiver program.

Citizens of the Kingdom of Thailand are unable to travel to the United states visa-free. As a result, any Thai national who wishes to travel to the United States to study must obtain a United States Student Visa, known in immigration circles by its categorical name: the F1 visa. The F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning that those traveling to the United States on an F-1 do so with the express intention to leave at the end of the visa’s validity.  Those who wish to apply for a US student visa must prove that they have the financial resources to pay for their entire stay in America without needing to resort to government assistance. Further, the applicant must prove that they are traveling to America to take up a bona fide course of study.

Many American’s who have a Thai loved one seek to obtain an F-1 student visa for the purpose of sidestepping the necessity of waiting for a US Family based visa petition to process. In comparison to even a K-1 visa (the US fiance visa that currently is the most expeditious family based visa that has inherent immigrant intent), the F-1 visa has a much shorter processing time. That being said, those who enter the United States of America on a non-immigrant visa, but in fact have immigrant intentions could be subject to criminal penalties as this course of action could be perceived as an attempt to provide false information to United States Immigration officials. Knowingly providing false information to American Immigration authorities could be construed as fraud and, at the least, would very likely result in a finding of legal inadmissibility against the immigrant. As a rule, it is always better for those wishing to travel to the United States to do so on the visa that most properly conveys the immigrants intentions.

For more information please see: US Visa Lawyer Thailand

(Nothing herein should be considered legal advice. For advice about the law, contact an attorney. No attorney/client relationship is made by reading this article.)

more Comments: 04

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.