The H-3 visa program allows an individual to travel temporarily to the United States to receive training provided by a U.S. company. Training visa status may be granted for up to two years. The training must not be available in the participant’s home country, yet at the same time it must benefit the trainee in pursuing a career outside the U.S.
The training program must be rigidly structured and detailed. It is common to receive requests for additional evidence from USCIS regarding the training plans, so it is best to provide extensive details on the program at the outset of the case. There is no limit to the number of H-3 visas issued each year (except for those issued under a separate special education program). However, due to the strict evidence requirements, generally less than 3,000 such visas are approved annually.
H-3 Visa Requirements
There are numerous requirements involved in the training visa application process. The process is divided into two steps.
The H-3 Visa Petition
Trainees must be sponsored by a U.S. company. The first step in obtaining training visa is for the company to file a petition with USCIS. The petitioner will be required to establish the following:
- The training is not available the trainee’s home country
- The trainee will not be placed in a position which is in the normal operation of the business
- The trainee will not engage in productive employment unless it is incidental and necessary to the training
- The training will benefit the trainee in pursuing a career in his or her home country
It can take several months for USCIS to process the petition. Premium processing is available and means USCIS guarantees processing will be done in 15 days. If the processing time exceeds 15 days, USCIS will refund the Premium Processing Service fee, and the case will continue to receive expedited processing.
H-3 Visa Processing
Once the petition is approved, the trainee must apply to the nearest U.S. embassy for a visa to travel to the U.S. The trainee will have to prove he or she intended to return home once the training is complete and a background/security check would be conducted. Some security checks will take more than 60 days. If the trainee is already in the U.S. and in legal status, he or she may be able to adjust status to H-3 without returning home. There can be some negative consequences to the individual when adjusting status from one visa category to another, so we recommend the trainee consult with an immigration attorney before applying.
Let Us Be Your H-3 Navigator
The amount of specific evidence required for a company to establish an H-3 training program is considerable. The petition process can be lengthy and confusing for those new to immigration law. USCIS often requests additional, sometimes seemingly irrelevant evidence during the adjudication process. Unless the application is filed correctly, adjudication can take several weeks to several months. Our experienced immigration attorney can smooth the way for a successful petition.
If your company would like to sponsor trainees for an H-3 visa, contact us today to schedule a consultation.