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New Jersey/New York Work Visa Attorney

Q-1 International Cultural Exchange Visitor Visa


1. Q: What is Q-1 visa?

A:  The "Q" visa is a non-immigrant visa category which allows foreign nationals to visit the United States to participate in international cultural exchange programs designated by the Attorney General for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the visitor's country.

2. Q: How long can I stay in the US on Q-1 visa?

A: A Q-1 visa holder can be admitted for the duration of the approved international cultural exchange program or 15 months, whichever is shorter.  Your stay in the United States may be extended by the Immigration Service, but may not exceed 15 months.

3. Q: Is there a limitation on admission in Q-1 status?

A: Yes, if you have been admitted into the US in Q-1 status, you shall not be readmitted in Q-1 status unless you have resided and been physically present outside the US for the immediate prior year.  Brief trips to the US in B1/B2 during the immediate prior year do not break the continuity of the one-year foreign residency.

4. Q: Who is eligible for Q-1 visa?

A: To be eligible for a Q-1 visa, you must:

• Show residence abroad which you do not intend to abandon
• Be at least 18 years old
• Be qualified to perform the service or labor or receive the type of training specified in the petition
• Have the ability and English language skills to communicate effectively about the culture of your country to the American public
• Have been outside the U.S. for the immediately preceding year, if previously admitted as a Q nonimmigrant

5. Q: Do I need an employer to obtain Q-1 visa?

A: Yes. An employer who has employees, nor simply an agent of office, and who provides on a regular, continuous, systematic basis, goods and/or services (including lectures, seminars and other types of cultural program) has to file a Q-1 petition for you. 

6. Q: What are the requirements for the employer for Q-1 visa petition?

A: The employer must:

• Have maintained an established cultural exchange program which is intended to enhance recognition by the American public of unique aspects of the alien's home country
• Have been designated a qualified employee for administering the program and serving as liaison with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
• Have been actively doing business in the United States
• Have offered the alien wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded domestic workers similarly employed
• Have the financial ability to pay the participants

7. Q: What are the requirements for an international cultural exchange program?

A: An international cultural exchange program must meet all of the following requirements:

• Accessibility to the public:  Program must take place in school, museum, business or other establishment where the American public or a segment of the public sharing a common cultural interest, is exposed to aspects of a foreign culture as part of a structured program.  Private homes or isolated business setting do not qualify.

• Cultural component:  The cultural component of the program must be an essential and integral part of the service performed or the training received by the foreign participant.  The cultural component must be designed on the whole “to exhibit or explain the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy or traditions” of the country of nationality.  Standard instructional activities such as seminars, courses, lectures, or language camps are acceptable.

• Work component:  The international cultural exchange visitor’s work must serve as the vehicle to achieve the cultural objective and cannot separate from it. 

8. Q: If I will perform services for more than one employer, can an agent file a Q-1 petition for the multiple employers?

A: No, if the international cultural exchange visitor will perform services for more than one employer, each employer must file a separate petition.

9. Q: Can I bring my dependant on Q-1 visa or any other derivative visa category?

A: No. There is no derivative visa category for spouses and children of the beneficiary of a Q-1 petition. Spouses and/or children who wish to accompany the Q-1 visa holder to the United States for the duration of the program are required to qualify for visas in their own right. If they wish to work, they require work visas; if they wish to study, student visas. Those who have no intention of working or studying, may apply for tourist (B-2) visas. If the spouse and/or child will not apply for visas at the same time as the principal applicant, they will be required to furnish a copy of the principal applicant's visa with their application.




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