Q Visa:

The Q-1 visa is issued for international cultural exchange visitors or foreign nationals who are coming to the US to participate in an international cultural exchange program. Under the Q-1 visa, the foreign national can engage in practical training and employment so long as he or she is also sharing the history, culture and traditions of his or her home country. Participants in the "Q" program must have the designated sponsoring organization file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS will notify the sponsor on Form I-797 when the petition is approved. It should be noted that the approval of a petition does not guarantee visa issuance to an applicant found to be ineligible under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

To obtain a Q visa, the U.S. employer must obtain an approval of its international cultural exchange program from the USCIS.

Each program:


  • must take place in a school, museum, business, or similar location where the public, or at least the interested public, can be exposed to aspects of a foreign culture as part of a structured program
  • must include a cultural component as an essential and integral part of the cultural visitorís employment or training
  • cannot provide for employment or training independent of the cultural component

The Q visa is for aliens who are coming to the U.S. for a period not to exceed 15 months. Dependent children and spouses may be granted B-2 visas for the duration of the Q-1 visa holderís stay in the US, up to 12 months at one time.

Note: The Q-2 visa, no longer available, was issued to Irish nationals to provide an opportunity for young people in areas that have a long history of violence and chronic unemployment to learn job skills and conflict resolution and then contribute what they learned to the rejuvenation of the region. This visa category sunset in 2006.



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