Q Visa-Cultural Exchange Program

The Q visa is intended for aliens who are coming to the United States temporarily as participants in an international cultural exchange program approved by the Attorney General. To qualify, the program must:

  • take place in a school, museum, business, or other establishment where the public is exposed to aspects of a foreign culture as part of a structured program;
  • contain a cultural component that is an essential and integral part of the cultural visitor’s employment or training; and
  • not contain employment or training independent of the cultural component. Programs that are restricted to the home, such as Au Pair, do not qualify.

Q-1 aliens must be at least 18 years old at the time the petition is filed and must be qualified to perform the service or labor, or receive the type of training stated in the petition as part of their exchange program. Q-1 aliens must also be able to communicate effectively about the cultural attributes of their country of nationality to the public. The Q -1 visa is approved for the duration of the program or 15 months, whichever is shorter, and 30 days to allow for travel arrangements. There are no extensions for this visa. Those Q-1 aliens who have left the U.S. after 15 months are prohibited from returning on a Q-1 visa until they have physically resided outside the U.S. for one year.

There is no Q derivative status for dependents. However, family members may accompany or subsequently join the Q alien in the U.S. in any other visa classification for which they are eligible.


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