H-3: Trainee

The H-3 nonimmigrant visa category is designed to allow foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to receive training in many different activities. Unlike the H-1B category, the H-3 is not a dual-intent visa, so the beneficiary cannot be pursuing concurrent avenues toward permanent residency. The regulations allow for training in “any field of endeavor.” The only sort of training that is specifically excluded is graduate medical training. Only about 3000 H-3 visas are issued each year.

The training programs associated with an H3 Trainee visa must demonstrate that: (a) The training must not be available in the alien′s home country, (b) The alien must not be placed in a position which is part of the normal operation of business which would ordinarily be filled by a US worker, (c) The alien must not be productively employed unless such employment is “incidental and necessary” to the training, (d) the training must benefit the alien in pursuit of employment outside the US.

H3 Trainees are allowed to stay in the U.S. for a maximum of two years, but generally the visa is issued for the length of the training program. If the trainee remains in the country for a full two years, he/she must leave the U.S. for six months so as to obtain any new H visa. H3 spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 qualify for H-4 status under the same limitations as the principal H3 trainee. The H-4 visa holders do not authorize employment for the dependents.

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