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Q-1 (Cultural Exchange Visitors)

Q-1 (Cultural Exchange Visitors)

The Q-1 nonimmigrant visa is designed for foreign nationals who are coming to the U.S. to participate in an international cultural exchange program. Under the Q-1 visa, the foreign national can engage in practical training and employment which is related to sharing the history, culture and traditions of their home country.

The exchange program must meet the following requirements:

  • It must take place in a public area such as a school, museum, business, or similar location so that the public can be exposed to aspects of a foreign culture;
  • The program must include a cultural component as an essential part of the cultural visitor’s employment or training; and
  • The program cannot provide for employment or training independent of the cultural component.

The program employer must designate a management level employee to administer the program and act as a liaison to USCIS.

The employer must be engaged in the active conduct of business in the U.S., and must agree to pay the foreign national the same wage as similarly employed U.S. workers and that the employer has the ability to pay the wage.

The foreign national who will receive Q-1 status must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be qualified to perform the service of receive the type of training listed in the application; and
  • Be able to communicate with the U.S. public about the cultural aspects of their home country.

Also, applicants who have previously been granted Q-1 status must remain outside the U.S. for one year before again being granted Q-1 status.

The Q-1 program designation is approved either for the length of the program, or 15 months, whichever is shorter. The person is also given 30 days after the expiration of the visa in which to make travel plans for their departure from the U.S.

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