H-3 Visa

H-3 Trainee Visa

The H-3 trainee visa permits foreign nationals from any country to come to the United States to participate in a bona fide training program with a U.S. employer. To qualify, the training program must meet the following conditions:

(1) The proposed training is not available in the foreign national’s own country;
(2) The foreign national will not be placed in a position which is in the normal operation of the business and in which citizens and resident workers are regularly employed;
(3) The foreign national will not engage in productive employment unless such employment is incidental and necessary to the training; and
(4) The training will benefit the foreign national in pursuing a career outside the United States.

The procedure for acquiring H-3 status involves the filing of a petition with the USCIS regional service center having jurisdiction over the place where the training will occur. The approval of such a petition is usually the basis for issuing the H-3 visa or, if the visa requirement is waived, for admission.

The foreign national must have a residence in a foreign country which s/he has no intention of abandoning.

The foreign national must also be able to prove that he plans on returning to his home country, both at the time of application for the H-3 visa and admission to the United States.

The period of admission is limited to two years and if the foreign national serves the full two (2) years as a trainee, s/he must remain outside of the U.S. for six (6) months before being eligible for certain immigration benefits.

The H-3 petition must:

(1) Describe the type of training and supervision to be given, and the structure of the training program;

(2) Set forth the proportion of time that will be devoted to productive employment;

(3) Show the number of hours that will be spent, respectively, in classroom instruction and in on-the-job training;

(4) Describe the career abroad for which the training will prepare the foreign national;

(5) Indicate the reasons why such training cannot be obtained in the foreign national’s country and why it is necessary for the foreign national to be trained in the United States; and

(6) Indicate the source of any remuneration received by the foreign national and any benefit which will accrue to the petitioner for providing the training.

The USCIS will not approve a training program which:

(1) Deals in generalities with no fixed schedule, objectives, or means of evaluation;

(2) Is incompatible with the nature of the petitioner’s business or enterprise;

(3) Is on behalf of a foreign national who already possesses substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training;

(4) Is in a field in which it is unlikely that the knowledge or skill will be used outside the United States;

(5) Will result in productive employment beyond that which is incidental and necessary to the training;

(6) Is designed to recruit and train foreign nationals for the ultimate staffing of domestic operations in the United States;

(7) Does not establish that the petitioner has the physical plant and sufficiently trained manpower to provide the training specified; or

(8) Is designed to extend the total allowable period of practical training previously authorized a nonimmigrant student.

The USCIS’s “Premium Processing Service” allows businesses to request expedited adjudication on certain pending and newly filed petitions and applications, including H-3 petitions, by filing a completed Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) and paying a fee of $1,225. This fee is in addition to the normal filing fee of $325 and must be paid by separate check or money order. The USCIS guarantees that within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt of the Premium Processing Request and fee, the employer will receive either an approval notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence or a notice of investigation for fraud or misrepresentation. If USCIS fails to meet its 15-calendar-day guarantee, it will refund the $1,225 but will continue to process the petition expeditiously.

Following approval of an H-3 petition by USCIS, the transferring employee, spouse and minor children (under the age of 21) may apply for H-3 and H-4 visas, respectively, at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. (Canadian citizens are visa-exempt and are not required to apply for visas at a U.S. Consulate.)