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Immigration requirements in employer-sponsored cultural exchanges

Businesses in South Carolina that want to host a nonimmigrant in a cultural exchange must fulfill certain requirements as specified by the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs. There are two types of nonimmigrant visas that can be used for entry into the United States to take part in a cultural exchange. The first visa, the J nonimmigrant visa is for individuals that want to take part in an educational or cultural exchange. The other type of nonimmigrant visa, the Q Cultural Exchange visa is for individuals that want to participate in a cultural exchange for purposes of training and employment.

To obtain a Q Cultural Exchange visa, the individual must be entering the United States for training or employment while at the same time sharing the tradition, cultures and history of their home country. The individual seeking the Q Cultural Exchange visa must be at least 18 years of age and able to communicate about their country's culture and history.

The Q Cultural Exchange program is geared towards employment related exchanges. As such, a company applying for the visa must prove that it administers cultural exchange programs. The company must also show that there is direct interaction and sharing of culture. The company must designate an administrator for the program and must show information regarding the immigrant's compensation.

Under a Q Cultural Exchange visa, a nonimmigrant can stay in the United States for 15 months but must leave the United States within thirty days after that time period has lapsed. After leaving the United States, the nonimmigrant must live outside of the United States for at least one year before they can apply for another Q Cultural Exchange visa. An immigration attorney can be very helpful in navigating the many requirements and limits on a nonimmigrant's entry into the United States.

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