Q visas are intended for nonimmigrants who plan to work in an international cultural exchange program designated by the Department of Homeland Security. The cultural aspect, rather the mere employment, of a Q visa holder’s job must be an “essential and integral” part of their duties. An individual must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a Q visa:
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Be qualified to perform the service, labor, or training required by their intended job; and
- Be able to communicate effectively about their country’s culture with the American public.
Employers petition for Q visas for their prospective international employees. An employer must meet the following requirements to be eligible to petition for Q visas for the prospective employees:
- They must provide evidence demonstrating that they run an established international cultural exchange program;
- They must provide evidence demonstrating that the program activities take place in a school, museum, business or other establishment where the American public, or a segment of the public sharing a common cultural interest, is exposed to aspects of a foreign culture as part of a structured program;
- They must have designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as liaison with USCIS;
- They must be actively engaged in business in the United States;
- They must offer the nonimmigrant employee wages and working conditions which are comparable to those provided to local workers who are employed in similar positions; and
- They must have the financial capacity to pay the nonimmigrant employees taking part in their cultural exchange program, as shown by a copy of the employer’s most recent annual report, business income tax return or other form of certified accountant’s report.
Q visas are granted for up to fifteen (15) months. When the period of stay has elapsed, the Q visa holder must depart the United States within thirty (30) days and must stay outside of the United States for at least one (1) year prior to applying for another Q visa. The Q visa category does not provide for derivative visas for spouses or children, so if a Q visa holder wishes to have their spouse and/or child(ren) accompany them, their spouse and/or child(ren) will need to qualify for their own visa(s) under a different visa status.
If you are interested in learning more about Q visas, contact Tanner Law Offices at 717-731-8114 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.