The Q nonimmigrant visa may be granted to participants in international cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of Homeland Security (unlike the J nonimmigrant visa, which is intended for participants in such programs designated by the Department of State).
Only qualified employers or their designated agents who administer such cultural exchange programs may petition for Q nonimmigrants. While the Q nonimmigrant category is employment-based, the cultural exchange element must be an essential part of the Q visa employee’s duties.
An employer must prove that they maintain an established international cultural exchange program. They must also provide evidence that they have satisfied the following conditions:
- They have designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as a liaison with USCIS;
- They are actively doing business in the United States;
- They will offer the Q visa employee wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded local workers similarly employed; and
- They have the financial ability to compensate the Q visa participant.
The period of stay for a Q visa is up to 15 months, and visa holders must depart within 30 days of the end of their program. In addition, they must remain outside of the United States for at least one year before they can apply to participate in a Q cultural exchange program again. Q visas do not provide for spouses or children of a Q visa to accompany them to the United States, so if a spouse or children wished to come to the United States with the Q visa holder, they would need to qualify for their own visa(s) independently of the Q visa holder.
If you are interested in learning more about the Q nonimmigrant visa, contact Tanner Law Offices at (717) 731-8114 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.