I recently had the pleasure of writing an article or two for use in the AILA Paralegal Handbook. For informaton on ordering or learning more, go here: Paralegal Manual. For an overview of material covered by the book, go here: Table of Contents.
An area I covered for the book included Q visas. This handy visa is an excellent work-around for finding a legitimate means to bring over a foreign worker for a short duration work experience. I've included an excerpt below.
There are two forms of exchange visas issued by the United States. The first, and most common, is the J visa. Less common is the Q. This under-used visa category offers unique opportunities for the immigration advocate to bring foreign aliens into the US in a manner that allows them to work, as well as learn, for a period of 15 months.
In a Q visa, the definition of cultural exchange is much broader than that of the J. 8 CFR 214.2(q)(3)(iii)(A) - (C) describes the requirements of a "cultural" engagement under Q. Essentially, this includes a requirement that the cultural aspects of the visitor be displayed to the general public (museums, schools, parks, or other public forums), and that the cultural aspects themselves include things such as (a) cultural heritage of the alien's home country, (b) structured instruction on particular aspects of the alien's country, (c) language, (d) history and heritage, etc.
Section 214.2(q)(3)(i) and (ii) explain the requirements for an employer to be involved in the program. These include the creation and maintenance of an exchange program (usually a program which shows the connections outlined in this section), and accessibility of the program to the public (214.2(q)(3)(iii)(A)).
The Q visa is uncommon, largely because it is unknown. However, the clever practitioner will recognize that almost any educated foreigner can be presented as a cultural exchange ambassador. With some thought, and creative sponsorship, it is possible to bring individuals to the US who may work, present on their home country, and remain in the country legally for 15 months. Finally, there is no bar from converting from the Q visa to another status.
Do you need help getting "legal" in the US, or determining how to come to the US to work? Contact us! It is often much cheaper to fix a problem before it happens. Like many visas, a "Q" visa requires a sponsor and proper planning. However, with a little forethought, you can work and operate legally in the US. Further, you can convert into a Q visa if you are already here. A consultation may be just the ticket to avoiding illegal overstay or finding the perfect segway into employment with a qualified organization.
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
The Hanover Law Firm is located in Washington, DC and Fairfax, VA. We practice
in both state and federal courts in VA, MD, and DC.