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Chapter 5 - Admissions, Extensions of Stay, and Changes of Status

A. Admission and Limits on Extensions of Stay

If approved for nonimmigrant international cultural exchange visitor (Q-1) classification and found otherwise admissible, a beneficiary may be admitted as a Q-1 nonimmigrant for a period of up to 15 months from the date of initial admission.[1]

An officer should not approve petitions for participants who have an aggregate of 15 months in the United States as a Q-1 nonimmigrant, unless the participants have resided and been physically present outside the United States for the immediate prior year.[2]

B. Change of Status

Generally, a beneficiary in a current valid nonimmigrant status who has not violated his or her status is eligible to change status to a Q-1 nonimmigrant in the United States without having to return to his or her home country for a visa interview. USCIS may grant such a beneficiary Q-1 status for up to 15 months.[3]

To change nonimmigrant status, the petitioning employer or agent should file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) before the beneficiary’s current status expires and indicate the request is for a change of status.[4] The beneficiary cannot work in the new Q-1 nonimmigrant classification until USCIS approves the petition and the change of status request.

If USCIS determines that the beneficiary is eligible for Q-1 classification, but not a change of status, the beneficiary must depart the United States, apply for a Q-1 nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consular post abroad (unless visa-exempt) and then be readmitted to the United States as a Q-1 nonimmigrant.[5]

C. Change of Employer

Q-1 nonimmigrants may change employers without leaving the United States. A new employer must file a petition with all required evidence establishing the existence of an international cultural exchange program. The total period of stay in the United States, however, remains limited to 15 months.[6] The beneficiary cannot work for the new employer until USCIS approves the petition and the change of status request.

Footnotes


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

[^ 2] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(7)(iv).

[^ 3] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(7)(iii).

[^ 4] See 8 CFR 248.3(a).

[^ 5] There is no appeal from a change of status denial. See 8 CFR 248.3(g).

[^ 6] See 8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(v).

Resources

Legal Authorities

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

8 CFR 214.2(q) - Cultural visitors

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

8 CFR 214.2(q)(5)(v) - Change of employers

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

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

8 CFR 248.3(a) - Requests by petitioners

8 CFR 248.3(g) - Denial of application

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.

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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.

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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”].