Are you a foreign citizen who is at least 18 years old?
Are you proud of your country’s culture and capable of teaching others about your country’s traditions, history and customs?
If “Yes” is your answer to the above questions, and if your employer participates in an international exchange program, then you may be able to enter the U.S. on a Q visa. The Q visa is associated with the nonimmigrant International Cultural Exchange programs designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The purpose of these international cultural exchange programs is to provide foreign nationals with practical training and employment and to allow the foreign national to share the history, culture and traditions of their home countries.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR A Q-1 VISA?
All Q-1 visa candidates must be at least 18 years of age and have an employer who is willing to petition the foreign national. Also, a Q-1 visa applicant must know how to communicate effectively with people, present their ideas clearly, and be able to teach others about their country’s culture.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO QUALIFY FOR A Q-1 VISA APPLICATION?
To be eligible for a Q visa, the visa applicant’s employer must prove the following:
- The employer must show that it runs an established international cultural exchange program. This may be demonstrated with materials that show what cultural aspects are in the program. These materials have to show a general overview of the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy, tradition, and other cultural aspects of your home country. Catalogs and brochures are the most common materials used by employers;
- The employer must show that the program will be in a public place, so that the visa holder can interact directly with Americans in the U.S.;
- Finally, the employer must prove that they are capable of compensating the Q visa holder for their services.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN THE U.S. ON A Q VISA?
If approved, you can remain in the U.S. for up to fifteen (15) months on a Q visa. After you complete the Q visa cultural exchange program, you must remain outside of the U.S. for at least one (1) year before you can reapply for the Q visa again.
CAN I BRING MY FAMILY WITH ME ON A Q VISA?
No. Unfortunately, Q visa holders are not allowed to bring their spouses or children along with them to the U.S.. Families of Q visa holders should consider a different visa category to enter into the United States.
If you would like to share the history and values of your culture with Americans, and you are capable of communicating, presenting, and teaching effectively, the Q visa can provide you with the opportunity. It is important for you to note that your employer must be willing to petition for you and must provide proof of an established international cultural exchange program.