The Q-1 visa is for those who are coming to the U.S. to participate in an international cultural exchange program designated by USCIS. The Q nonimmigrant exchange program is for the purpose of providing practical training and employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of your home country with the U.S.
Requirements for Q-1
It is an employment oriented program, but an integral part of your duties must have a cultural element. And you must be at least 18 years old and be able to communicate effectively about the cultural attributes of your home country.
How to apply
1. First, your U.S. employer or a sponsoring organization has to file a Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker, along with proper Supplements and supporting documents, with USCIS. Only employers who administer cultural exchange programs are allowed to petition for Q visa purposes.
Supporting documents must include:
----- Evidence that the employer maintains an established international cultural exchange program. This includes 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 alien's home country. The employer may also submit evidence illustrating that the program activities take place in a public setting where the sharing of culture can be achieved through direct interaction with the U.S. public or a segment.
----- Evidence that it has designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as liaison with USCIS.
----- Evidence that it will offer the alien wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded local U.S. workers similarly employed.
----- Evidence that it has the financial ability to compensate the participant(s), such as the employer's most recent annual report, business income tax return, and/or other form of CPA report.
2. Once the I-129 petition is approved, you can apply for a Q-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate.
Period of Stay
1. Period of stay: Up to 15 months.
2. After you complete your Q cultural exchange program, you are given 30 days to depart the U.S.
3. You are required to spend 1 year outside the U.S. before you can apply again for participation in the Q cultural exchange program.
Dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of Q-1 workers are NOT entitled to any dependent/derivative visa/status.