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There is a special classification for international cultural exchange participants called the Q-1 classification. In order to qualify for this designation, applicants must be approved for one of several purposes by the Attorney General. These roles include employment, practical training, or a capacity sharing the traditions, culture, and history of the home nation of the alien participant.

It is the Department of State that actually administers this Walsh Program, also referred to as the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program. The employment training and cultural exchange program has been lauded as groundbreaking by the international community.

Petitions May Introduce a Number of Aliens

For those applying to the international cultural exchange program, they may utilize only a single petition to apply for multiple persons, assuming that certain criteria are met by all aliens concerned. The applicants must be applying for visas with the others in their proposed group via the identical consulate. For those aliens who are not required to provide visas to enter, they must enter the country from the identical port of entry in order to participate in the single petition program.

Requirements for the Petition Documents

When an alien is looking at a job in the country, his or her I-129 Q-1 petition may be filed by either a foreign based employer or an American employer. When a foreign employer is involved, the petition has to be signed off on by either an American permanent resident or an American citizen who worked for the foreign qualified employer in a full-time and permanent capacity as either a manager, an executive, or in a supervisory role during the previous year. Such a petition has to be supported by documented evidence that the foreign employer does all of the following:

  • Maintains and supports a cultural exchange program that is international in nature and is proven to be well established. To achieve this burden of proof, the company may submit copies of brochures, catalogs, or other materials.
  • The program’s cultural segments are created to provide a view of the customs, attitude, heritage, history, tradition, philosophy, and other cultural elements of the home country of the participating individual.
  • The activities of the program are held in a setting that is open to the public and that encourages the sharing and interactions of culture via some direct exchanges between the participating individual and a part of the public or the American public in general.
  • Has set up a capable and experienced employee who will run the program and act in capacity as liaison to the INS. They must also provide fair and decent working conditions and compensation appropriate to the position as they would to local American or resident workers who were performing work in a similar capacity.
  • Possesses the financial wherewithal to pay the alien participant the fair wage commiserate to the job being performed. To satisfy this requirement, the employer must submit a copy of its business income tax return, annual business report, or some other proof like an accountant report that has been certified for accuracy.

Government Website Links

This portion of the article covers reports and articles that pertain to the Q Visa program. The sources include government agencies and organizations like the ICE, CBP, DHS, DOS, and USCIS.

Cultural Exchange Program and the USCIS

Once the alien transits the U.S. via a seaport entry, international airport, or land borders checkpoint, he or she is enrolled in the American US-VISIT entry-exit program.

CBP- The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

There is a wealth of information available on entry requirements and admissions to the United States provided on the websites of the Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security.

ICE- The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

There are travelers from various countries who are required to register their American entry and departure when they leave. This is done via the Special Registration program.

VWP- The Visa Waiver Program

Some countries are fortunate enough to be participants in the Visa Waiver Program with the United States. Any citizen whose host nation is a party to this treaty may come into the United States on a temporary basis, as if they were representing foreign media individuals who are traveling to the U.S., practicing their profession like a journalist or a member of the media. This is for a temporary admittance to the U.S. for those participants who are willing to come to the country only temporarily and for a trip with return tickets to their home nation. Treated like representatives of foreign media coming into the U.S., they must practice their profession like journalists or media. They similarly have to first get a media visa to enter the United States.

Even though they are participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver program, they are required by law to get a media visa in order to enter the U.S. in this manner. For those who are thinking that it is far easier to travel without a visa and feign ignorance, they should be aware that admittance to the United States can be declined. These denials into the U.S. can come from U.S. Immigration inspector over at the port of entry. They also may be turned away by the Department of Homeland Security. There is more information available on the Visa Waiver Program found at: