Type Q Visa
The Q-1 visa is for foreign nationals taking part in a cultural exchange program in the US. This enables people to enter the US to provide practical training and sharing the history, culture and traditions of a country with the US. The main purpose is to educate people in the US regarding international cultures from around the world. This type of visa is quite rare, with around 2,000 being issued each year.
For a Q visa to be granted, the employer must administer cultural exchange programs and they will apply for the Form I-129 petition for the foreign national. The person applying for the Q visa must be qualified to provide the service/training under the cultural exchange program.
The employer will be required to provide evidence that they are an established organization that maintains an international cultural exchange program, including evidence that demonstrates that the activities are available for sharing with the American public. The USCIS office will require evidence such as brochures or other material that provides information regarding the cultural component of the program and what the training will include.
If the Form I-129 is approved then the worker will have an appointment at their US Embassy to progress their application. The visa will be approved for the length of the training and no longer than fifteen months in total.
Dependents of Q visa holders
There is no spouse/ children under 21 visa linked to the Q visa. If spouses or children wish to travel then they will require another form of visa. The ESTA visa may be an option if they are looking to visit the US for a shorter period than 90 days, so this could be ideal for most families if the cultural exchange program is relatively short, or if they are just visiting for a short period.
If they want to stay for longer than the ESTA allows, or they are not eligible for ESTA then there may be other visa options such as a student visa or the tourist visa (B-2).