We offer this guide to the H-3 training visa as part of our guide to the various US visa types. If you, employer or trainee, want to learn more about the H-3 visa USA, you can continue reading. If you know that you need help with the H-3 training visa application, please contact us. We will start with a strategy consultation so that you can understand your options.
H-3 Visa Requirements
The idea of the H-3 training visa is to provide a way for employers to train individuals for employment outside of the United States. A trainee comes to the United States to take part in a training program in any field other than graduate medical education. To illustrate how this training program works out in practice, we thought it might be helpful to use an example.
Western Horsemanship As a Worked Example for the H-3 Visa Process
We are going to consider the situation of a rancher who wants to train someone in Western horsemanship so that person can work in the United Kingdom (UK). In making the application, the employer would need to show the following under the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations:
- That the proposed horsemanship training is not available in the UK;
- That the trainee is not treated as a regular employee of the rancher;
- That any productive employment for the trainee is incidental to the training and necessary to pursue a career in horsemanship in the UK;
- That the horsemanship training will benefit the beneficiary in pursuing a career back in the UK.
Negative Factors in the H-3 Training Visa
Besides showing the above positive attributes of the training program, the rancher in our example would also have to show that the training program was free of the following flaws.
- The training program had specifics, along with a fixed schedule. It must also show obtainable objectives and that a method for evaluating the training is in place.
- The training must be compatible with the rancher’s business. For example, a rancher couldn’t offer to train vegetarians.
- The trainee must not already have expertise in the field. Even though the applicant is from the UK, if he is an expert in Western horsemanship already, he would not benefit from the program.
- The training leads to productive employment outside of the training schedule. Using our example, if the rancher offered two hours a day of training in Western horsemanship then offered six hours a day of working as a cowboy on a ranch this extra employment would defeat the application.
- Like the previous flaw, if the employer designed the training program to provide cowboys to the rancher in the United States instead of training UK citizens to work in the UK, the training program would fail.
- Lastly, an employer will not be successful with the USCIS if she does not have the necessary equipment and personnel to run the training program.
With both these positive and negative factors in mind, submitting a successful application to the USCIS entails covering the positive and negative points listed above, and filling in the details. For example how much time will the trainee spend in productive employment? How many hours will the trainee spend in a classroom? How many hours will the employer supervise the trainee? An employer that submits an application to the USCIS that addresses all these points is more likely to see success.
Application process for the H-3 visa USA
Like most other employment-based visas, and employer for the H-3 visa must submit an application using form I-129. An employer may file for H-3 visa premium processing to get a quicker decision. The current H-3 visa processing time is around 50 days at the California Service Center. You can check on USCIS processing times for H-3 visas here.
Other Aspects of the H-3 Visa to Consider
A trainee could receive H-3 status in the United States through change of status. Alternatively, the trainee may apply for the H-3 visa through a consulate if she is outside the United States. USCIS regulations specify that the training period may not exceed two years. At this two-year mark, the USCIS does not permit an extension of the trainee status nor may the trainee change status. The trainee must leave the United States and is not eligible for readmission in H or L status unless he has been outside of the United States for six months. If the trainee has a family, a spouse and dependents under the age of 21 are eligible for H-4 status along with the trainee.
Alternatives to the H-3 Visa
The trainee may receive training in the United States as described above with different visas. For example, the trainee may be eligible for a J-1 visa if he is in the J-1 program. Alternatively, under the scenario described above a person could receive a B-1 visa so long as any salary was not paid in the United States. These alternatives may be better for the employer and the trainee depending upon the circumstances.
How We Can Help
A thorough understanding of all the factors involved allows us to gauge whether an employee’s program will qualify for the H-3 visa program. We can help employers and trainees evaluate their best options. If you need professional advice about a training program, please contact us for a strategy consultation. We can help you.