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Cultural Exchange VisitorsVisas for Cultural Exchange Workers


The Q visa is a temporary visa that allows foreign nationals up to 15 months to participate in an international exchange program “for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the country of the alien’s nationality.” The person can be employed or receive training on this visa for a U.S. employer that sponsors him or her.

To qualify, the following things must be proven:

• A bona fide U.S. employer exists and can financially afford to support these foreign workers and will pay wages and have working conditions equivalent to similar workers in the U.S.

• A qualified international exchange program exists under the U.S. employer. It must be a program designated to provide an opportunity for the American public to learn about foreign cultures. The cultural component must be essential or an integral part of person’s employment or training.

• The American public must have access to the cultural activities. The foreign national must be coming for work or training to exhibit or explain customs, histories, heritage, or philosophies of the beneficiary’s country of nationality.

• The foreign national must be at least 18 years of age at the time the petition is filed, qualified to perform the service or receive the type of training described, and can speak English effectively to communicate the cultural attributes of his or her country of nationality, and no intent to abandon residence in home country.

• If previously had Q status, must reside and been physically present outside of the United States for the immediate prior year.

Q Visa Tips and Facts
• It requires a U.S. employer with a qualifying cultural exchange program.

• No family members can join on this visa.

• No extensions—only valid for 15 months unless stay outside the country for one year.

• Such a visa is advantageous in the hospitality industry, for example, chefs or entertainers, where exposure to different cultures or international languages or history is a component.

If you wish to work in Colorado or elsewhere in the United States and have questions about the Q visa, contact Denver immigration lawyer Catherine Brown to schedule a consultation. Contact us online or call us at 303-322-2117.

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Law Office of Catherine Brown
111 N. Public Rd.
Lafayette CO 80026