Skip to main content

Chapter 4 - Adjudication

A. Approvals

If the petitioner properly filed the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) and the officer is satisfied that the petitioner has met the required eligibility standards, the officer should approve the petition. The approval period should not exceed the maximum period of stay allowed, which is the length of the approved program, or 15 months, whichever is shorter.[1] The petitioner must demonstrate that the program will run 15 straight months in order to obtain a validity period of that length.[2]

1. Substitution of Beneficiaries

A petitioner may substitute or replace a participant named on an approved petition for the remainder of the program without filing a new Form I-129.[3] The substituting cultural exchange visitor must meet the qualifications for a participant.[4]

Petitioners seeking to substitute a participant must submit a letter to the consulate at which the participant will apply for the visa or at the port of entry in the case of a visa-exempt alien, along with a copy of the approval notice and the participant’s information.[5] 

2. Revocation

The approval of any petition is automatically revoked if the qualifying employer:[6]

  • Goes out of business;

  • Files a written withdrawal of the petition; or

  • Terminates the approved international cultural exchange program before its expiration date.

No further action or notice by USCIS is necessary in the case of automatic revocation.

A notice of intent to revoke (NOIR) is necessary upon a determination that:[7]

  • The international cultural exchange visitor is no longer employed by the petitioner in the capacity specified in the petition, or if the international cultural exchange visitor is no longer receiving training as specified in the petition;

  • The statement of facts contained in the petition was not true and correct;

  • The petitioner violated the terms and conditions of the approved petition; or

  • USCIS approved the petition in error.

The notice of intent to revoke should contain a detailed statement of the grounds for the revocation and the period of time allowed for the petitioner’s rebuttal. USCIS must consider all relevant evidence presented in deciding whether to revoke the petition in whole or in part. If the petition is revoked in part, the remainder of the petition remains approved and USCIS sends a revised approval notice to the petitioner with the revocation notice.[8]

The petitioner may appeal the decision to revoke a petition (in whole or in part) to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) if USCIS revoked the petition on notice. Petitioners may not appeal an automatic revocation.[9]

B. Denials

If the petitioner does not meet the eligibility requirements, the officer must deny the petition.[10] The officer may deny a petition for multiple participants in whole or in part.[11] If the officer denies the petition, he or she must prepare a final notice of action, which includes information explaining why the petition is denied.[12] Additionally, officers should include information about appeal rights and the opportunity to file a motion to reopen or reconsider in the denial notice. The office that issued the decision has jurisdiction over any motion[13] and the AAO has jurisdiction over any appeal.[14]


[^ 1] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(7)(iii).

[^ 2] See Matter of R-C-C-S-D- (PDF, 356.08 KB), Adopted Decision 2016-04 (AAO Oct. 24, 2016).

[^ 3] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(6).

[^ 4] See Chapter 2, Eligibility Requirements, Section C, Participant Requirements [2 USCIS-PM E.2(C)].

[^ 5] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(6).

[^ 6] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(9)(ii).

[^ 7] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(9)(iii).

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

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

[^ 10] See 8 CFR 103.2(b)(8).

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

[^ 12] See 8 CFR 103.2(b)(19). See 8 CFR 103.3. See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(8)(i).

[^ 13] See 8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(ii).

[^ 14] See 8 CFR 103.3(a)(2).


Legal Authorities

8 CFR 103.2(b)(19) - Notification

8 CFR 103.2(b)(8) - Request for Evidence

8 CFR 103.3 - Denials, appeals, and precedent decisions

8 CFR 103.3(a)(2) - AAO appeals

8 CFR 103.5(a)(1)(ii) - Jurisdiction

8 CFR 214.2(q) - Cultural visitors

8 CFR 214.2(q)(6) - Substitution or replacements of participants in an international cultural exchange visitor program

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

8 CFR 214.2(q)(8)(i) - Notice of denial

8 CFR 214.2(q)(9)(ii) - Automatic revocation

8 CFR 214.2(q)(9)(iii) - Revocation on notice

8 CFR 214.2(q)(9)(iv) - Notice and decision

8 CFR 214.2(q)(9)(v) - Appeal of a revocation of a petition

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

INA 214(c) - Admission of nonimmigrants


No appendices available at this time.


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, 327.05 KB) 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”].