Some US non-immigrant visas are issued to people who intend to participate in cultural exchange programs. J1 and Q1 visas are among these visas. Requirements, the application process, and other details of the J1 visa have been explained in another article.
What is a US Q1 visa?
A Q1 visa (like a J1 visa) helps people to participate in employment and cultural programs held in the United States. Holders of this visa can attend training programs conducted by the employer in the United States. In this way, they can both strengthen their skills and become familiar with US culture. On the other hand, American citizens will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the culture and traditions of the Q1 visa holder’s country. Thus, cultural diversity in the United States is strengthened, and cultural relations between this country and other countries are established.
The list of U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Programs defined under the Q1 visa are administered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. The US Department of State, on the other hand, is responsible for programs running under the J1 visa. There are no restrictions on issuing a Q1 visa. This means that if you are eligible for this visa and are keen to participate in cultural exchange programs, you can apply for this visa.
What are the requirements for a Q1 visa?
Applicants for this visa must meet the following requirements:
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
- They must have enough knowledge and skills to be able to convey the cultural characteristics of their country.
- Applicants must also prove that they will return home after completing the program and that they do not intend to live in the US permanently.
As you know, applicants for this visa need a sponsor or employer. The employer or sponsor should consider the following:
- The sponsor or employer must have a registered business in the United States.
- Their business should also include cultural exchange programs.
- They must have a liaison between the business and the USCIS.
- Employers or sponsors must arrange events to provide cultural exchange information from participants.
- Employers must compensate Q1 visa holders for the services they provide. This salary should be equal to the wage that a US citizen receives in similar circumstances.
- They should also provide a proper job offer to Q1 visa holders.
How to apply for the US Q1 visa?
Part of the application process is for the applicant, and a part is for the sponsor or employer. The employer must first apply for the necessary USCIS approvals. If USCIS issues the required permissions, the applicant can complete the application process.
Measures to be taken by the employer
All employers who plan to hire foreign workers in the United States must first obtain USCIS approval. Receiving this approval shows that they can legally import foreign labor for work. To receive this approval, they must first submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, to the USCIS. They also have to pay $ 460. Besides, the employer must provide the following documents to USCIS along with Form I-129:
- The employer must prove that there is a cultural exchange program in their business through promotional items. Promotional items can include catalogs and brochures.
- The employer must prove that he or she is financially stable and can pay the Q-1 visa holder. Thus, they can show the financial statement, business tax form, and previous payments in the same positions.
- Details of the cultural program, including activities and locations, should be provided.
- The eligibility of the applicant in terms of age and education must be proven.
The sponsor submits all documents along with Form I-129 to a USCIS branch. The organization assesses the documents and then approves or rejects the petition. If they approve, another form called Form I-797C, Notice of Action, will be issued to the Q1 visa applicant and sponsor.
Upon approval, the applicant must complete the visa application process. To do this, a Q1 visa applicant must go to the US Embassy in their home country.
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Measures to be taken by the applicant
The applicant must go through the following steps:
1. Completing Form DS-160
Filling this form is required for all US non-immigrant visa applicants. The questions in this form are about personal information and the purpose of traveling to the United States. When you submit the form, a confirmation page will appear that you have to save because you will need it later.
2. Visa Application Fee
As a Q1 visa applicant, you must pay $ 190 as a visa application fee. Depending on the relationship between your country and the United States, you may also have to pay a visa issuance. The cost of issuing a visa varies from country to country. After payment, a receipt will be issued that you must keep.
3. Schedule the visa interview appointment
All individuals between the ages of 14 and 79 do not need to attend a visa interview. After you have made this appointment, you will obtain a confirmation letter that you need to bring on the day of your interview.
4. Prepare documents
As Q-1 visa applicants, provide the following documents:
- A valid passport
- Applicant Photo
- Form I-797
- DS-160 Form confirmation page
- Receipts of payments
- Visa interview confirmation letter
- Documents related to the applicant’s previous work experiences
- Proof that you will return to your home country at the end of the program and that you do not intend to reside in the United States permanently.
5. Attend an interview
On the interview day, you must bring some documents with you. You will be asked some questions about your background, education, and purpose of your trip to the United States. You must talk about your relationship with the principal visa holder.
What are the most frequently asked questions in Q1 visa interviews?
The questions asked in the visa interview are often about the purpose of your trip to the United States and the program you want to attend. Some of the Q1 interview questions are:
- What is the purpose of your trip to the United States? Or why do you want to travel to this country?
- How long do you plan to stay in the US?
- How are your travel expenses covered?
- Where are you going to work?
- What do you know about the program you plan to participate in?
- How did you get acquainted with this program?
- Why do you want to attend this program?
- What will be your duties in this program?
- How do you want to introduce your culture?
- What is your current job?
- What will be your plan after returning to your home country?
How long does it take to assess the documents and issue the Q1 visa?
The processing time of the documents and issuing the Q1 visa is 15 days to 3 months. In general, the visa processing time depends on the workload of the embassy. After this period, you will be notified of the visa result.
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What is the validity period of the Q1 visa?
The validity period of visitor exchange visas depends on the program’s duration in which the applicant will participate. The maximum validity of the Q1 visa is up to 15 months.
If, for example, your initial visa is valid for eight months, your sponsor can extend your visa for another seven months. After 15 months, you need to return to your home country and wait at least a year to be eligible for a Q1 visa again.
Can the visa holders receive a Green Card?
Because you have to prove that you do not intend to stay in the United States during the Q1 visa application process, obtaining a Green Card under this visa is complicated. You can only apply for a Green Card in the following situations:
- Your family members live in the United States.
- You marry an American citizen or legal resident.
- You can get a visa like the H-1B visa.
Can the Q1 visa holders bring their family members to the United States?
No. Unfortunately, Q1 visa holders cannot bring their family members to the country. If your family members, including your spouse and child, want to accompany you, they must apply for a visitor’s visa.
Let’s sum up…
This article described the Q1 visa application process, requirements, costs, how to extend the visa, and more. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.