Q Visa for International Cultural Exchange

Q visa is issued to aliens who will come to the U.S. to participate in an international exchange program. The main purpose of the program is to provide practical training, employment and share the history, culture and traditions of the country of the aliens’ nationality. The alien participant must be treated the same as the U.S. worker with respect to wages and working conditions.

Cultural Component. The exchange program must have a cultural component which is an essential and integral part of the cultural visitor’s employment or training. This component must be designed on the whole to exhibit or explain the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy or tradition of the person’s country of nationality. A cultural component may include standard instructional activities such as courses or lecture series, or language camps.

Length of Stay and Extension. Q visa can be granted for 15 months of stay in the U.S. If the initial approval is less than 15 months, extension of stay can be approved up to a total of 15 months. Alien who has spent 15 months in the U.S. with Q visa cannot come back with the same category unless he/she physically outside the U.S. for 1 year. Brief trips to the U.S. with B-1/B-2 do not break the continuity of the 1 year foreign residence requirement.

Family Members (spouse/children). They cannot come to the U.S. under Q category. However, they can come under B-2 visa, staying the same length of time as the Q alien does. They cannot work without authorization.