Immigration Center of
Ekaterina Mouratova, PA

Participants in Cultural Exchange Programs (Q Visas)

A Q visa is for participants in cultural exchange programs who want to live and work in the United States for up to 15 months under the purpose of sharing their culture and history. Please take note that it is not a visa that provides a path to immigration.


How to Apply for a Q Visa


The Q visa can only be applied for through employers who offer cultural exchange programs. They must file an I-529 petition to start the application process and demonstrate that they run a legitimate cultural exchange program as part of their work. Proof of this can be demonstrated in the form of brochures, course information, or evidence of cross-cultural activities that have taken place and which continue to do so. 


The employer must also meet the following conditions:


  • They must be able to identify a foreign employee (the applicant) who will participate in the program.
  • They must be able to provide the applicant with a salary and work environment that is the same as what they would offer to a US resident.
  • They must provide an annual financial report to prove that they have the ability to pay the applicant said salary if the application is approved.

As the Q visa requires a significant amount of evidence from both the employer and the applicant, it is recommended to seek the advice of an immigration lawyer or immigration attorney.


Other Conditions of the Q Visa


If the Q visa is granted, the applicant will be allowed to live and work in the US for up to 15 months. Before the expiration of this period of time, they will have to leave the United States and cannot apply for another Q visa until they have lived and worked outside the US for a period of one year.


Q Visa applicants cannot bring their spouses or children with them on the visa; if their family wishes to join them, they must apply for a separate visitor (non-immigrant) visa category.


Getting Help and Advice


While the Q Visa is not as commonly used as other US visas, it is still a great opportunity for applicants who wish to share culture, history and traditions of their respective countries with US citizens. The employer should consult an immigration lawyer or immigration attorney before applying to ensure that they are legally eligible to offer the visa to their prospective employee. The immigration attorney can help them file the petition and gather the necessary evidence for a successful application.

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