Q visas are for participants in an international cultural exchange program approved by the USCIS for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of the alien’s home country.
Including more than one person in a petition
Persons who will apply for their visas at the same consulate or, if they do not need visas, will enter at the same port of entry may be included in one petition if they will be involved in the same international cultural exchange program.
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Q Visas – Eligiblity
Only employers who administer cultural exchange programs may petition for Q nonimmigrants. It is an employment-oriented program, but an integral part of your duties must have a cultural element. You must be at least 18 years old; be qualified to perform the service, labor or training; and be able to communicate effectively about the cultural attributes of your country.
The total period of your stay in the United States cannot exceed 15 months.
Q Visas – Petition Document Requirements
A U.S. employer or foreign employer may file the I-129 Q-1 petition; however, a foreign employer’s petition must be signed by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident employed by the qualified employer on a permanent basis in an executive, managerial, or supervisory capacity for the prior year. The petition must be filed with evidence the employer:
- Maintains an established international cultural exchange program. This may be demonstrated by submitting copies of catalogs, brochures or other types of material which illustrate that:
- The cultural component of the program is designed to give an overview of the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy, tradition and/or other cultural attributes of the participant’s home country, and;
- The program activities take place in a public setting where the sharing of culture can be achieved through direct interaction with the American public or a segment thereof.
- Has designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as liaison with USCIS;
- Will offer the alien wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded local domestic workers similarly employed; and
- Has the financial ability to compensate the participant(s), as shown by a copy of the employer’s most recent annual report, business income tax return or other form of certified accountant’s report.
Q Visas – Additional Resources
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.