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H3 Visa

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The H3 “training visa” is a US visa designed for people to enter the U.S. for a period of up to two years in order to receive training.

The primary purpose of the H3 is to enable U.S. employers to bring in foreign staff to receive essential training in the United States that would not normally be available elsewhere. Training can be in a wide variety of areas, from agriculture to transportation, commerce to computing.

h3-visa-for-trainingThere are two forms of H3 visa…

  1. Trainee: This is for where the training is not available in the applicant’s home country.
  2. Special Education Visitor: For visitors who will receive training in education for children with special needs or disabilities (may be physical, mental, and/or emotional).

H3 Visa Privileges

  • H3 trainees may stay in the United States for up to 2 years, whereas Special Education Visitors are permitted to stay for up to 18 months.
    • No extensions are available, but H3 holders may apply for a Change of Status.
  • Visa holders may travel freely in and out of the U.S. while visa is valid. Note that the 24/18 month time limit is strictly from the time of issue, and any time spent outside the country is still counted.
  • A trainee’s legal spouse and any unmarried children under 21 may accompany them to the U.S., but they are not permitted to work.

Attorney Tips for H3 Applications

Employer or Organization Requirements

h3-special-education-visitorThe petitioning U.S. employer or organization should comply with the following general requirements…

  • The intent of the training must be to enable the trainee to work that will be carried out outside the U.S.. H3 visas should not be used with the intention of employing the trainee within the United States.
  • They must provide a detailed break-down of the training program, listing number of hours spent each week in the classroom versus hands-on training.
  • Present a summary of each trainee’s prior experience, showing why they need the training.
  • Provide a valid explanation why equivalent training is not available in the trainee’s home country.
  • Statement of how the training will be funded, which must be without the petitioner permanently employing the trainee.

Alternatives to H3 Visa?

  • The H3 is most similar to J1 visa, so it is worth comparing the two.
  • H3 can sometimes migrate to H1B visas (which are more desirable but more challenging to obtain, and also capped).
  • If the beneficiary can prove exceptional ability, they may qualify for the O1 visa, which affords an initial 3-year stay with unlimited potential one-year extensions.
  • Canadian or Mexican citizens may be eligible for TN “NAFTA Professional” visa (3 years).

H3 Visa FAQs

“When applying for an H3 visa, is legal assistance mandatory?”

Legal assistance is by no means mandatory but highly recommended. The process has become increasingly complicated and there has been an unprecedented number of visa denials and RFEs (Requests For Evidence).

Attorney Tips and Strategies for H3 Applications

The petitioning U.S. employer or organization should comply with the following general requirements…

  •  The intent of the training must be to enable the trainee to work that will be carried out outside the U.S. H3 visas should not be used with the intention of employing the trainee within the United States.
  •  They must provide a detailed breakdown of the training program, listing the number of hours spent each week in the classroom versus hands-on training.
  • Present a summary of each trainee’s prior experience, showing why they need the training.
  • Provide a valid explanation why equivalent training is not available in the trainee’s home country.
  • Statement of how the training will be funded, which must be without the petitioner permanently employing the trainee.