International Cultural Exchange Program Participants (Q-1′s)

The Q-1 classification applies to participants in an international cultural exchange program approved by the Attorney General for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of the alien’s home country.

You may be eligible for a Q-1 nonimmigrant visa if you are seeking to participate in an international cultural exchange program. The Q nonimmigrant exchange program is for the purpose of providing practical training and employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of your home country with the United States

Your sponsoring organization must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with the USCIS office specified in the form instructions.  In addition, the employer must submit evidence that the employer maintains an established international cultural exchange program. This may be demonstrated by submitting copies of catalogs, brochures or other types of material which illustrate that the cultural component of the program is designed to give an overview of the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy, tradition and/or other cultural attributes of the participant’s home country.  The employer may also submit evidence which illustrates that the program activities take place in a public setting where the sharing of culture can be achieved through direct interaction with the American public or a segment thereof.

In addition, the employer must establish that:

  • It has designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as liaison with USCIS
  • It will offer the alien wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded local workers similarly employed
  • It has the financial ability to compensate the participant(s), 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

The Q nonimmigrant visa does not have a provision for any spouse or children to accompany or follow to join a Q-1 nonimmigrant. Therefore, any spouse or children must qualify for a visa classification for which they may be eligible.