Q visa allow aliens, who have residence abroad and have no intention of abandoning their residence, to enter into the United States as a participant of the international cultural exchange visitor program approved by USCIS for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of history, culture, and traditions of the country of the alien’s nationality. Alien who is in Q visa shall be employed under the same wages and working conditions of domestic workers. An alien who enters as international cultural exchange visitor is classified as Q-1 visitor; aliens who visit the US under Irish peace process cultural and training program are classified as Q-2 visitors, and their dependents as Q-3 visitors.
An alien under Q-1 visa may be admitted for the duration of the approved international cultural program or for fifteen (15) months, whichever is shorter plus 30 days to allow aliens to make travel arrangements. Any alien, who is admitted under Q-1 visa, shall not be readmitted to the United States as Q-1 exchange visitor unless he or she physically spends outside the United States for the immediate prior year. However, brief trips to the United States during the immediate prior year do not break the continuity of required one-year foreign residency.
Q visa also allows qualified employer to replace or substitute the alien on already approved petition for the period of the reminder of the program. An alien may be admitted to the United States until till the expiration date of the approved petition.
To obtain Q visa at the consulate abroad, qualified employer must file a petition for Q visa with the USCIS. Employer must maintain qualified international cultural exchange program; has designated qualified employee who will be responsible for administering the international cultural exchange program and who will serve as liaison with the USCIS; must be actively doing business in the United States; has the financial ability to remunerate the aliens; offers the wages and working conditions to aliens that are similar to those available to the domestic workers; must certify and verify that the prospective participants are qualified to perform the service or labor or receive the type of training described in the petition; and must give the alien’s date of birth, country of nationality, level of education, position title, and a brief job description must be included in the petition.
To qualify for Q visa, alien must be at least of 18 years old; is qualified to perform or receive the type of training stated in the petition; has the ability to communicate effectually about the cultural aspects of his or her country to the American public; and must have resided physically outside the United States for the preceding year if he or she was previously admitted as Q visa visitor.
An activity to qualify as an international cultural visitor program, for the purposes of Q visa, must take place in a school, museum, business or other establishment where the American public, or a segment of the public sharing a common cultural interest, is exposed to aspects of a foreign culture as part of a structured program. It must, on the whole, exhibit or explain the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy, or traditions of the international cultural exchange visitor’s country of nationality. These components are essential and integral part of the international cultural exchange visitor’s employment or training, and may be thought under structured instructional activities such as seminars, courses, lecture series, or language camps.
Q-2 visa is given to the aliens from the disadvantaged areas of Northern Ireland and the six border counties of the republic of Ireland to live and work in the United States for up to 24 months. To qualify for Q-2 visa, alien must be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland who are between the 21 to 35 years of age, unemployed not less than 12 months, and must be residing in Northern Ireland for the last 18 months, and must have no intention to abandon his residence. Also, alien must not hold degree from the institution of higher degree. The program offers conflict resolution training and a variety of activities to involve participants in the diverse society. This program is designed to help these young people to develop and enhance their personal and professional skills and then returns to their respective countries as productive and skilled members of the workforce.
Q-2 visa holders are prohibited from adjusting their visas to immigrant status, or changing their status to any other nonimmigrant status, while they are in the US. Two-year residence in the home country is required before an individual who is in Q-2 visa to apply for or eligible for another US visa. However, an alien under Q-2 visa may be able to obtain waiver for the home country residency requirement from the USCIS if such requirement would impose exceptional hardship upon the alien’s spouse or child provided alien spouse or child is a US Citizen or permanent resident of the United States.