Q Visas

Q Cultural Exchange

A Q nonimmigrant visa is for international cultural exchange programs designated by USCIS. An applicant may become eligible for Q-1 status if the applicant is seeking to participate in an international cultural exchange program. The exchange program is meant to be for the purpose of providing practical training and employment. The exchange program is also a way to share history, culture and traditions of an applicant’s home country with the United States.

To petition for a Q visa, an applicant must be an employer who administers cultural exchange programs. To be eligible for the visa, one must be at least 18 years old and must be able to communicate effectively about the cultural features of their home country.

When applying for the visa, an applicant’s sponsoring organization must file Form I-129 with the USCIS, and also submit evidence that the employer runs an established international cultural exchange program. An employer may demonstrate this evidence by submitting copies of catalogs, brochures, or any other type of material which helps illustrate that the cultural standard of the program is intended to give an overview of the cultural attributes or the participant’s home country. Evidence may also be submitted that shows that the program activities take place in a public setting in which sharing culture can be achieved through sharing with the American public. Along with this, the employer must also establish that:

  • 1) it has designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as a liaison with the USCIS,
  • 2) it will offer the alien wages and working conditions that are comparable to what local workers are offered,
  • 3) it has the financial ability to compensate the participants.


The period of stay that is given to Q visa holders is initially up to fifteen months. After the cultural exchange program has been completed, the visa holder is given 30 days to leave the United States and is required to spend one year outside of the country before another application can be submitted for the Q program.

For more information regarding Q Visas, and the process of obtaining a Q Visa, please contact the Law Office of Jeffery Bennett via phone: 816-759-2776 (English), 816-759-2777 (Spanish); or via email: jyb@jybennettlaw.com.