H-3 Visas for Trainees
Who is Eligible?
The H-3 visa is for a foreign national who is coming to the United States to receive training from an employer in any field other than graduate education or training. This covers a specific course of job-related training that has been planned in the United States, which may include employment incidental to the training period. When an application is made in this category, the employer must state that the training is not available in the foreign nationals’ home country, and why it is necessary for the foreign national to receive training in the U.S. “Special Exchange Visitors” may also apply for nonimmigrant visas under the H-3 category. A “Special Exchange Visitor” is one who seeks to enter the U.S. to gain practical training in educating children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. The foreign national must have a foreign residence they have no intention of abandoning, and they may stay in the U.S. for up to eighteen months. Only 50 foreign nationals per year may enter the U.S. in the Special Exchange Visitor category.
How to Apply
The Form I-129 visa petition must be submitted by the U.S. employer to the USCIS Regional Service Center that has jurisdiction over the place of intended employment.
The documentation that is required to be filed with the I-129 petition varies depending on the H-3 sub-category in which the foreign national is seeking to obtain training. For those individuals seeking to obtain training in a special education training program, the petition must be filed with the following documentation:
- A description of the training, staff, and facilities;
- Evidence that the program provides special education to children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities, and that any custodial care of the children is only incidental to the training program;
- Details of the foreign national’s participation in the program;
- Documentation that the foreign national is nearing the completion of a baccalaureate degree in special education, already holds such a degree, or has extensive experience in teaching children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
For those individuals seeking to obtain training from an employer in any other field (other than graduate education or training), the petition must be filed with the following documentation:
- A detailed description of the structured training program, including the number of classroom hours per week, and the number of hours of on-the-job training per week;
- A summary of the prior training and experience of the foreign national; and
- An explanation of why the training is required, whether similar training is available in the foreign national’s country, how the training will benefit the foreign national in pursuing a career abroad, and why the employer is willing to incur the cost of providing the training without significant productive labor.
Duration of the Visa
- An H-3 visa for a foreign national trainee may be valid for a period of up to two years.
- An H-3 visa for a foreign national participant in a special education training program may be valid for up to 18 months.
- If an H-3 visa holder has remained in the U.S. for the maximum period of time stated on his or her visa, as stated above, he or she may not seek a change of status, extension, or readmission to the U.S. in H or L status until he or she has resided outside of the U.S. for a period of six months.
Status of Spouses and Minor Children
A spouse or unmarried child of an H-3 visa holder is entitled to an H-4 visa, for the same length of stay as the principal. Neither the spouse and dependent minor children can accept employment, but they can attend school in the United States.
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