Q - Cultural Exchange Visa

The Immigration Act of 1990 established a new visa category called the “Cultural exchange” nonimmigrant visa. The Q nonimmigrant visa is for:

an alien having a residence in a foreign country which he [she] has no intention of abandoning who is coming temporarily (for a period not to exceed 15 months) to the United States as a participant in an international cultural exchange program approved by the Attorney General for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and sharing of history, culture, traditions of the country of the alien’s nationality and who will be employed under the same wages and working conditions as domestic workers. INA Section 101(a)(15)(Q), 8 USC 1101(a)(15)(Q).

It is believed that a very strong lobby by the Disney organization made the Q nonimmigrant visa possible and gave it the nickname of the “Disney” visa. (This nonimmigrant visa category may be suitable for foreign nationals coming to perform temporary services at the Epcot Center at Disney World.)

The Q nonimmigrant visa category was the first nonimmigrant exchange program to be administered by the USCIS rather than by the USIA [See J nonimmigrant visa category section supra]. As a result it appears that there is more flexibility with respect to the use of this nonimmigrant visa category as a “stepping stone” for entering the United States temporarily and moving to a different nonimmigrant visa category.