Q visas for cultural exchange

What is the Q visa?
It is a non-immigrant visa for international cultural exchange programs certified and designated by the
US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How different is the Q visa from the J-1 visa?
Both visas are for international exchange. However, the J visas are for job-related training and
internships where the J-1 visa holder may or may not be compensated in wages and will not be hired as
employees of a US employer. The Q visa is for practical training and employment in jobs that require the
sharing of history, culture, and traditions of a foreign country with the United States. The purpose of Q
visas is to facilitate the sharing of international cultures.

Who can apply for Q visas?
Employers who administer cultural exchange programs may petition for Q nonimmigrants.

How can US employers petition for Q nonimmigrants?
Employers administering cultural exchange programs in the US must file a Petition for Non-immigrant
Worker (Form I-129).

What documents must the US employer provide?
The US employer must provide evidence that:

  • The employer maintains an international cultural exchange program.
  • The international cultural program is an established program.
  • Cultural components of the program are genuine and informative about the cultural and
    historical attributes of the foreign country.
  • The program activities take place in a public setting.
  • The program activities provide direct interaction with the American public.
  • It has designated an employee qualified to administer the program and liaise with the USCIS
  •  The wages and working conditions of the alien are comparable to other local workers similarly employed.
  • It has the financial capacity to compensate the participants by showing financial documents
    such as annual reports, business income tax return or audited income statements.

How long are Q visas valid for?

The period of stay of a Q visa holder is for 15 months or less. After the duration of the stay indicated in
the visa application, the Q visa holder must leave the US within 30 days. The Q visa can apply to
participate in a Q cultural exchange program again after one year.

Who can accompany a Q visa holder?
As of this time there is no derivative visa under the Q category for the spouse or dependent children of
the Q visa holder. They can enter the US if they qualify under a different visa classification.

Are you an employer with a designated cultural exchange program? Do you need help filing your Form I-
129? Do you need help gathering and submitting documents in support of your Petition for Non-
immigrant worker? The immigration lawyers at Lluis Law can help. Contact us today to talk to any of our
immigration lawyers who are willing to help you.

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