H3 Visa

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

1. What is H3 visa?

The H-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to receive training in a U.S. company. However, you may not come for a graduate program or medical training, and the training cannot be available in the trainee’s home country.

Note: Special Exchange Visitors may also apply for nonimmigrant visas under the H-3 category. A Special Exchange Visitor is one who seeks to enter the U.S. to gain practical training in educating children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. The foreign national must have a foreign residence that he/she has no intention of abandoning, and may stay in the U.S. for up to 18 months. Only 50 foreign nationals per year may enter into the U.S. in the Special Exchange Visitor category.

2. How do I qualify for H3 visa?

To qualify for H-3 visa, you must be coming to the U.S. to receive training in areas such as commerce, agriculture, government, professions, finance, agriculture, or in an industrial establishment. You must prove that:

  1. You are not receiving graduate medical education or training in the U.S.
  2. You do not have the opportunity to receive similar training in your home country
  3. You need this training to advance your career outside the U.S.
  4. You will not be productively employed unless it is necessary to the training
  5. The training offered does not employ U.S. citizen and resident workers
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3. What privileges do I enjoy on H-3 visa?

On H-3 visa, you may:

  1. Enter into the U.S. and get trained in a professional capacity for a temporary period
  2. Travel in and out of the U.S. or remain in the U.S. continuously during the validity of your H-3 visa
  3. Bring your dependent spouse as well as unmarried children under 21 on H-4 visa

4. What are the limitations of H3 work visa?

The limitations of H3 work visa are:

  1. The training program must be provided by the U.S. company which petitions for the foreign national
  2. Physicians are ineligible for the H-3 classification to receive any type of medical training or education
  3. If the H-3 visa holder remains in the U.S. for the maximum period of time, (s)he may not seek a change of status, extension, or readmission to the U.S. in H or L status until (s)he has resided outside of the U.S. for a period of six months
  4. Dependants of H-3 visa holders may not work in the U.S

    5. Can I extend my stay on H-3 visa?

    No, you may not apply for extension of stay on H-3 visa. Upon the completion of the period of stay you are supposed to leave the U.S. as there is no extension facility for this visa.

    6. Can I change status while on H-3 visa?

    Yes, you may apply for change of status while on H-3 visa. If you are taking up a job, have your employer file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, at the USCIS Regional Service Center with jurisdiction over your case if you are trying to change to H-1B or TN. Make sure your employer files for your spouse and children on Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status.

    7. Are there any travel restrictions on H-3 visa?

    No, there are no travel restrictions on H-3 visa. You may travel as many number of times as required before the expiry of your H-3 status. The USCIS also does not impose any time limit on your stay abroad.

    8. What is the validity of H-3 visa?

    The H-3 visa for a foreign national:

    1. Trainee may be valid for a period of up to two years
    2. Participant in a special education training program may be valid for up to 18 months

    9. Can I study or work on H-3 visa?

    Yes, you may take a few credits at a university which might support your training program. However, you may not join a full length course like an F-1 visa holder. Your employment should be limited to minimum hours and should be in the field of the training program.

    10. Can I bring my dependents on H-3 visa?

    Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old may accompany you on H-4 visa and they may stay as long as you are on valid H-3 status.

    11. Can my dependents work on H-4 visa?

    No, your dependents may not work on H-4 visa. They have to apply for appropriate Work Visa.

    12. Can my dependents study on H-4 visa?

    Yes, your dependents may study on H-4 visa. They do not have to apply for separate F-1 student visa. They can study on the same dependent H-4 visa.

    13. How do I apply for H-3 visa?

    To apply for H-3 visa, your U.S. employer must submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with the regional USCIS center that has jurisdiction over the place where the training will be offered.

    Note: The petition should not be filed more than six months prior to the commencement of the program.

    14. What additional documents are required for H-3 visa?

    The documents required with the H-3 petition are:

    1. A description of the training program, staff, facilities, number of classroom hours per week, and the number of hours of on-the-job training per week
    2. Details of the trainee participation in the program
    3. Details of compensation to the trainee, if any
    4. Reasons why a trainee needs the training
    5. For Special education training programs:
      Evidence that the program provides special education to children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities, and that any custodial care of the children is only incidental to the training program

    Note: If the documentation says that the foreign national is nearing the completion of a baccalaureate degree in special education, already holds such a degree, or has extensive experience in teaching children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities it would be an added advantage.

    15. What should I do after my H-3 petition is accepted?

    After the acceptance of the petition, you should file Form DS-160, Application for Nonimmigrant Visa, at the American Consulate near your residence along with the following documents:

    1. Form I-797, Notice of Approval of the H-3 visa petition
    2. Valid passport for you and each accompanying relative
    3. One passport-type photo of you and each accompanying relative
    4. Long form birth certificate for you and each accompanying relative
    5. Marriage certificate if you are married and bringing your spouse
    6. Documents showing that close family members or property are being left behind in your home country
    7. Documents showing a job is waiting on your return to your home country

    16. What is the processing time for H-3 visa?

    The processing time for H-3 petition is about four to six weeks, and it takes one to three months to process the H-3 visa application.