What is an H-3 Visa for a Nonimmigrant Trainee and What is Needed to Qualify for H-3 Status?

By May 31, 2017December 2nd, 2020H-1B and E-3 Visa, Immigration

The H-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa which permits foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to receive professional training with a U.S. company.

To qualify for H-3 status, the “trainee” must be invited by a petitioning organization or individual to come to the U.S. to receive training in any field, including but not limited to: agriculture, commerce, communications, finance, government, and transportation.  Importantly, H-3 visa classification is not intended to provide U.S. employment for a foreign national.  The idea is that the program allows for the temporary entry of foreign nationals to receive training for work that will ultimately be performed outside the U.S.

The U.S. employer or organization providing the training must demonstrate that the proposed training is not available in the foreign national’s native country.  It must also be shown that the trainee is not occupying a position that exists in the normal operations of the business and in which U.S. citizens and resident workers are regularly employed.  If the training consists of productive employment, such employment must be limited and essential to the training.  Finally, the training must be shown to be necessary to advance the applicant’s career outside of the U.S.

A second area of inquiry is as to whether the petitioning U.S. employer or organization meets the definition of a qualifying “training program”.  In order to meet the definition, the U.S. employer or organization must satisfy several criteria.  Most notably, the employer must be able to demonstrate that it occupies a field in which there is a strong likelihood that the knowledge or skill learned will be used outside of the U.S.  The employer must also demonstrate that the training program is not designed to recruit and train foreign nationals for the purpose of staffing domestic operations in the U.S.  A third important prerequisite for classification as a training program is positively showing that the trainee does not already possess substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training.

If approved, the H-3 visa recipient will be able to enter the U.S. for a temporary period to train in a suitable program in a professional capacity.  The H-3 visa holder is free to enter and exit the U.S. for the duration of the visa (up to 2 years) and is entitled to travel with a spouse as well as unmarried children under 21, both of whom may be awarded H-4 status.  Dependents in H-4 status are not able to file for Employment Authorization.

More information on the H-3 program is available here.

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