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Chapter 3 - Filing and Documentation

A. Filing Process

A qualified employer or its designated agent may file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), with the Q-1 Classification Supplement and required fee, generally within the 6-month period before the participant’s employment begins. A petitioner may include multiple participants on one petition.[1] A participant may provide services, labor, or training for more than one employer at a time, provided each employer files a separate petition.[2]

A petitioner must file a new petition on Form I-129, with the applicable fee, each time it wants to bring in additional international cultural exchange visitors. Each person named on an approved petition will be admitted only for the duration of the approved program. Replacement or substitution may be made for any person named on an approved petition, but only for the remainder of the approved program.[3]

B. Evidence

1. Evidence Relating to the Employer

The petitioner must provide evidence that demonstrates that the employer:

  • Has designated a qualified employee as a representative who will be responsible for administering the program and will serve as a liaison with USCIS;

  • Is actively doing business in the United States (for example, the regular, systematic and continuous provisions of goods or services, including lectures, seminars and other types of cultural programs);

  • Will offer the participant(s) wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded local domestic workers similarly employed; and  

  • Has the financial ability to remunerate the participant(s).[4]

Evidence to demonstrate financial ability to remunerate the participants includes the organization’s most recent annual report, business income tax return, or other form of certified accountant’s report.

2. Evidence Relating to the Program

The petitioner must provide evidence that the employer maintains an established international exchange program that meets the factor listed in the Program Requirements section above.[5] In addition to the position description, evidence that can show the program has a cultural component which is an essential and integral part of the participant’s employment or training may include:

  • Catalogs;

  • Brochures;

  • Curriculum; or

  • Any other evidence describing the program.

The program’s cultural component must be designed, on the whole, to exhibit or explain the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy, traditions, or other cultural attributes (arts, literature, language) of the participant’s country of nationality.[6] If there are different locations, the petition must include an itinerary with the dates and locations of the services, labor, or training to be performed.[7]

Multiple Petitions in Same Calendar Year

When petitioning to repeat a previously approved international cultural exchange program, petitioners may submit a copy of the initial program approval notice in lieu of the documentation required with an initial filing.[8] Officers should request additional documentation only if clarification is needed.[9]

3. Evidence Relating to the Alien Participants

The record must contain documentation of the following information for each participant:

  • Date of birth;

  • Country of nationality;

  • Level of education;

  • Position title; and

  • Job description. [10]

The petitioner must verify and certify that the participants are qualified to perform the service or labor, or receive the type of training, described in the petition.[11] In addition, the petitioner must report the participants’ wages and certify they are offered wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded to local domestic workers similarly employed.[12]

For petitions involving multiple participants, the petitioner must include the name, date of birth, nationality, and other identifying information required on the petition for each participant. The petitioner must also indicate the U.S. consulate at which each participant will apply for a Q-1 visa. For participants who are visa-exempt,[13] the petitioner must indicate the port of entry at which each participant will apply for admission to the United States.[14]

Finally, if the participant has spent an aggregate of 15 months in the United States as a Q-1 nonimmigrant, the petitioner must document that the participant has resided and been physically present outside the United States for the immediate prior year.[15]

Footnotes


[^ 1] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(ii).

[^ 2] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(iv).

[^ 3] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(i).

[^ 4] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(i)(B), (C), (D), and (E).

[^ 5] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(i)(A).

[^ 6] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(3)(iii)(B).

[^ 7] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(iii).

[^ 8] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(i).

[^ 9] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(iii).

[^ 10] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(ii)(A).

[^ 11] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(ii)(A).

[^ 12] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(ii)(B). See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(11)(ii).

[^ 13] See 8 CFR 212.1(a).

[^ 14] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(ii).

[^ 15] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(7)(iv).

Resources

Legal Authorities

8 CFR 214.2(q) - Cultural visitors

8 CFR 214.2(q)(11)(ii) - Wages and working conditions

8 CFR 214.2(q)(3)(iii)(B) - Cultural component

8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(i)(A) - Supporting documentation

8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(i)(B), (C), (D), and (E) - Supporting documentation

8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(ii)(A) - Supporting documentation

8 CFR 214.2(q)(4)(ii)(B) - Supporting documentation

8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(i) - Filing of petitions, General

8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(ii) - Petitions for multiple participants

8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(iii) - Service, labor, or training in more than one location

8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(iv) - Service, labor, or training for more than one employer

8 CFR 214.2(q)(7)(iv) - Approval of petition for international cultural exchange visitor program

INA 101(a)(15)(Q) - Definition of Q nonimmigrant classification

INA 214(c) - Admission of nonimmigrants

Appendices

No appendices available at this time.

Updates

POLICY ALERT - Nonimmigrant Cultural Visitor (Q) Visa Classification

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding the nonimmigrant cultural visitor visa classification, commonly known as the “Q” visa category.

Read More
POLICY ALERT - Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements Final Rule

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is revising its policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to align with the Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements Final Rule, published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020. This guidance becomes effective October 2, 2020. For information regarding implementation, see our litigation summary.

Read More
Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy Manual

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].