US Q1 visas are temporary non-immigrant work visas issued to international cultural exchange visitors. As part of the qualifying exchange programme, Q1 visa holders must communicate about their cultural attributes while they are in the US.
The US government has allowed foreign nationals holding Q1 visas to temporarily work in the country.
Q1 visas are temporary non-immigrant work visas issued to international cultural exchange visitors. As part of the qualifying exchange programme, Q1 visa holders must communicate about their cultural attributes while they are in the US. Such visas provide the opportunity for cultural and employment exchange programmes through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Those who have Q1 visa will participate in training programmes provided by their respective companies during their stay in the US. They will get to learn new things, develop their talents and also acquire knowledge about US culture.
Q1 visa eligibility
Both the participant in the exchange programme and the sponsor or employer have to meet the eligibility criteria to get the visa. The sponsor or employer must detail the eligibility criteria through valid documents during the application phase. The participant needs to provide documents that prove they are eligible for a Q1 visa.
To be eligible for Q1 visa, a participant must be at least 18 years old, possess knowledge and skill to communicate the cultural aspects of the home country, demonstrate that he/she will return to home country after completion of the Q1 programme.
A sponsor or employer must be a registered business in the US, conduct an international cultural exchange programme in their business, employ international cultural exchange participants, have a liaison officer to communicate between the business and USCIS, organise events to provide cultural exchange information, should be able to compensate the Q1 visa holder for their services while in the US, and be able to provide appropriate working conditions to the Q1 visa holder.
How to apply
The sponsor needs to initiate the application process for the Q1 visa by seeking permission from USCIS to hire the visa applicant.
File the petition: Employers or sponsors need to acquire approval for their petition for hiring foreign nationals from USCIS.
Submit form DS-160: Form DS-160, which is an online non-immigrant visa application, needs to be filled by the applicant. The form will inquire about the applicant’s personal information, background, and purpose of visit to the US.
Payment: The form has to be submitted after paying $190 visa application fee for the Q1 visa. The applicant may have to pay other fees, known as visa issuance fees, depending on the relationship the US has with their home country.
Interview: The applicant will be called for the visa interview with an official from the US Embassy which they must attend to get the visa.
To apply for Q1 visa, the applicant must have a valid passport, a photograph for US visa application, Form I-797, receipts of fees paid, DS-160 confirmation page and code, confirmation letter of the visa interview, proof of educational qualifications and work experience, and proof that the applicant will return to their home country after completion of the exchange programme.
Q1 visas take 15 days to three months to be processed. Officials contact the applicant to inform them if their visa has been approved.
The Q1 visa is valid till the duration of the programme or for a maximum of 15 months, whichever period is shorter.