Obtaining the proper visa is your responsibility, but please do not start applying for your visa until you have discussed it with the PiA staff. Visa procedures vary by country and position and can be somewhat confusing. Most of you will need a letter of invitation from your Asian host institution before you can apply to the proper embassy/consulate for your visa. It is a good idea to contact the embassy/consulate nearest to you or visit their website for updated fees and application forms. We will review specific visa procedures during orientation and for those of you who need to begin applying for visas before May, the PiA staff will work with you on this immediately. In the meantime, here are some general guidelines:

China: Most of you will be applying for an Employment/Work Visa (Z Visa). In order to apply for this type of visa, you must have a letter of invitation from your host institution, a completed Chinese Physical Examination Certificate (available from PiA or from the Chinese embassy website), a yellow health card (listing your immunizations which you get from the place that provides your immunizations) and a certificate from the State Bureau of Foreign Experts (which your school will need to provide—be in touch with them). Fellows working for businesses (e.g. Wild China) will receive specific visa instructions from those companies, but you can start by getting the necessary medical examinations and immunizations. Summer interns will enter China on a Business/Official “F” visa. Be in touch with the office throughout this process.

East Timor: Be in touch with your institutions directly. They will advise and help arrange. Keep the office informed.

Hong Kong: Your host institution will communicate with you directly about what you will need to apply for your visa. All necessary documents must be prepared in advance in the U.S. and then sent to the institution. Your host institution will then submit your application to the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Once your visa is approved, they will mail you a visa sticker to insert in your passport.

Indonesia: Contact the PiA office. You will likely be going in on a social budaya “cultural study” visa which the host university will later convert to a work visa and working permit. Please be in touch with the office and the host university before applying.

Japan: Your host institution will communicate with you directly about what you will need to apply for your visa. The entire process can take over six weeks to complete, so it is important to get started as soon as you receive the institution’s instructions. You will be asked to prepare and send a number of documents (Application for Certificate of Eligibility, signed contract, copy of diploma, transcript, resume, copy of passport, passport photographs, etc.) to your host institution. After the institution receives and processes these items, they will send you a Certificate of Eligibility (or like document) that you will then use to apply for a designated type of visa at the nearest Japanese embassy/consulate. Osawa Interns (summer only) will enter Japan on a tourist visa.

Kazakhstan: KIMEP will send you an official letter of invitation that you will use to apply for a single entry, one-month visa (converted later to one year) at the embassy in Washington D.C. or the consulate New York City. You will also be required to submit an HIV test. The visa fees are more costly than many other countries, but KIMEP reimburses fellows for the visa fees if you have your receipts.

Korea: Your host institution will communicate with you directly about what you will need to apply for your visa. The entire process can take over six weeks to complete, so it is important to get started as soon as you receive the institution’s instructions. You will be asked to prepare and send a number of documents (signed contract, copy of diploma, transcript, resume, copy of passport, passport photographs, etc.) to your host institution. After the institution receives and processes these items, they will send you a Certificate of Confirmation (or like document) that you will then use to apply for a visa (probably E-2) at the nearest Korean embassy/consulate.

Laos: Your host institution will apply for your visa clearance in Laos and inform PiA of the approval number. You will then be able to apply for a work visa at the Lao Embassy in Washington D.C. Please talk to the PiA office about the visa process.

Malaysia: Please be in touch with the office asap. Since this post begins in June, you will have to begin the visa application process soon.

Singapore: The school in Singapore will handle your work visas and PiA will provide you with the application forms for your employment pass (work visa). These forms will need to be completed and returned to the school immediately. You will need to complete a simple medical exam that can be done at your student health service or at any doctor’s office. To complete this form, you will need to have an HIV test and a Chest X-ray done, and you will need your doctor to certify the test results. After you have received approval in Singapore, the school will send you an official notification of your visa approval. You will enter Singapore on a tourist visa that you will obtain at the airport on arrival, which will be converted into an employment pass by your school. One way airline tickets into Singapore without a departing flight out of Singapore can at times cause the airline operator on the US based portion of your flight to deny boarding. Please be in touch with the PiA home office for recommendations to ensure your departure goes smoothly.

Taiwan: Please contact the PiA office for the latest information regarding the visa process. You will be applying for your visa at the nearest Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office.

Thailand: Work visas are difficult to obtain outside of Thailand. Therefore, fellows must enter on a three-month non-immigrant visa that can be obtained at a consulate/embassy. Avoid getting a tourist visa as this cannot be extended or changed to non-immigrant status without leaving Thailand. You will need a letter of invitation from your host institution and a criminal background check report. Host institutions will then assist in either status changes or extensions every 3 months once you are in Thailand.

Vietnam: Your host institution will apply for your visa clearance in Vietnam and inform PiA of the approval number. You will then be able to apply for a work visa at the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington D.C. The approval in Vietnam takes several months, but once you are cleared, the processing of the visa by the embassy in DC only takes a few days.
Please talk to the PiA office about the visa process. 

If your country is not listed above and you have questions about your visa process, please be in touch with your program director.

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