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Thailand Student US F1 Visa and Exchange Visitor J1 Visa

The US Student visa and US Exchange Visitor visas are commonly required by Thai nationals seeking to participate in exchange programs or educational institutions in the United States.  Both the F1 and J1 visas are non-immigrant visas intended for temporary stay in the country.  Each visa category has sub-categories that correspond to the specific type of program one has been enrolled in; for example the US J1 visa can be used for Thais going for physician exchanges, internships or research placements.

F1 Visa Thailand Requirements

 The F1 Student visa is for those enrolled in academic and language training programs in the United States.  For vocational education, however, the US M1 visa will be required.  The F1 visa is valid for the entire course of study as long as the visa holder is a full-time student.   A 60 day grace period after the completion of studies is permitted as well.  A letter from the sponsoring institution is required in order to apply for a F1 visa from Thailand. Other than on-campus work, the US F1 Student visa generally does not permit one to work in the United States.    Also, the Thai F1 visa holder must return to Thailand for two years after their studies are completed.

F1 Visa Process for Thais

For Thais applying for an F1 visa, the process is fairly straight forward.  First, the Thai student must be accepted into a recognized educational institution in the United States and receive a letter specifically stating the course of study.  Thais will be required to attend an interview at the US Embassy in Bangkok.  Thai students who wish to study in the US are advised to apply well in advance, but not more than 120 days in advance.  Further, the Thai student is advised not to go to the US 30 days prior to the start-date of school because he/ she will not be admitted into the country.

J1 Visa Thailand Requirements

The J1 Exchange Visitor visa is for those that are participating in exchanges under the US government’s Exchange Visitor Program, whereby private and public organizations sponsor Thai and foreign nationals to enter the US primarily for the purpose of cultural exchange.  Similar to a Visitor’s visa, Thai applicants will also have to prove that they intend to stay in the US only for the duration of their program, have enough funds to support their stay and have strong enough ties to their home country to prove their intent to return.  Similar to the F1 visa, the Thai J1 visa holder must return to Thailand for two years after the placement is completed.

J1 Visa Process for Thais

For Thais applying for a J1 visa, the process may be more difficult than that for a US Student Visa precisely because there are more requirements to prove their ties to their home country and their financial status.  The Thai applicant must possess a letter from their sponsoring organization and be available for an interview at the US Embassy in Bangkok.  Similar to the F1 visa, the J1 visa holder cannot enter the country 30 days prior to his/her start date.

US Immigration Lawyer Thailand

In most cases, receiving a US F1 Student visa or a US J1 Exchange visa is a somewhat tedious but successful process for those with genuine supporting documentation and intention to participate in their respective programs.  Thai F1 or J1 visa applicants, however, whose circumstances require that they apply for a US visa waiver, such as those with HIV/AIDS or past criminal convictions, a US immigration lawyer can assist with filing successful applications.  Many Thai applicants, however, choose to enlist a US visa attorney to assist with applications, document gathering and the interview at the US Embassy in Bangkok in order to reduce the chances of incomplete applications and associated hassle.

(Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. No warranty is expressed or implied.
Before taking any legal action, persons are advised to seek the advice of a lawyer qualified in the area of law concerned.)

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