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"Q" International Cultural Exchange Visa
What is a “Q” International Cultural Exchange Visitor?

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States. The "J" exchange visitor visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is discussed here. The "Q-1" visa is for certain international cultural exchange programs designed to provide practical training and employment, and sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of participants home country in the United States. The training/employment must be approved in advance by the office of the Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the basis of a petition, Form I-129 , filed by the U.S. sponsor. The Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program or Walsh Program (Q2, Q3 visa) is a groundbreaking cultural exchange and employment-training program, administered by the Department of State. To learn more, select Walsh Program .


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.

Including more than one alien in a petition

Aliens who will apply for their visas at the same consulate or, if they do not need visas, will enter at the same port of entry may be included in one petition if they will be involved in the same international cultural exchange program.

Including more than one alien in a petition

A U.S. employer or foreign employer may file the I-129 Q-1 petition; however, a foreign employer's petition must be signed by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident employed by the qualified employer on a permanent basis in an executive, managerial, or supervisory capacity for the prior year. The petition must be filed with evidence 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, and;
    • 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.
  • Has designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as liaison with INS;
  • Will offer the alien wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded local domestic workers similarly employed; and
  • 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.