H-3/H-4 Trainee Visa

The H-3 visa classification is for individuals coming to the U.S. for a temporary period to receive training that will benefit them in pursuing a career outside of the U.S.

The petitioning company must demonstrate the following:

  • The training is not available in the trainee’s home country
  • The trainee will not be in a position that is in the normal operation of the business and in which U.S. citizens and resident workers are regularly employed
  • The trainee will not engage in productive employment unless such employment is incidental and necessary to the training
  • The training will benefit the trainee in pursuing a career outside the U.S.
The training program must also include:

  • A description of the type of training and supervision to be provided, and the structure of the training program
  • The proportion of time that will be devoted to productive employment
  • The number of hours that will be spent, respectively, in classroom instruction and in on-the-job training
  • A description of the career abroad for which the training will prepare the trainee
  • The reasons why such training cannot be obtained in the trainee’s country and why it is necessary for the trainee to be trained in the U.S.
  • The source of any remuneration received by the trainee and any benefit which will accrue to the petitioner for providing the training
Notably, an H-3 petition cannot be approved if the training program:

  • Deals in generalities with no fixed schedule, objectives, or means of evaluation
  • Is incompatible with the nature of the petitioner’s business or enterprise
  • Is on behalf of a trainee who already possesses substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training
  • Is in a field in which it is unlikely that the knowledge or skill will be used outside the U.S.
  • Will result in productive employment beyond that which is incidental and necessary to the training
  • Is designed to recruit and train aliens for the ultimate staffing of domestic operations in the U.S.
  • Does not establish that the petitioner has the physical plant and sufficiently trained manpower to provide the training specified
  • Is designed to extend the total allowable period of practical training previously authorized a nonimmigrant student
The petitioning company must file an H-3 petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with a training plan that addresses the above requirements. An H-3 petition can be filed for multiple trainees provided they will be engaging in the same training program.

An H-3 visa is issued for the duration of the training program, up to two years. The H-3 visa is not subject to an annual cap and spouses and children of the H-3 visa holder are eligible to apply for H-4 visas. H-4 visa holders are not eligible to work.

An H-3 visa holder who has spent two years training in the U.S. cannot extend his or her status and has limitations regarding changing to a different status. Further, the H-3 status is not a dual-intent visa which means that the individual must maintain a foreign residence to which he or she intends to return upon the completion of the training program.