H-3 Visas

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission of the U.S. immigration inspector to enter the United States. Nonimmigrant visas ("NIVs") are issued to individuals who intend to remain in the United States temporarily. NIVs are designated by letters of the alphabet. The type of visa a foreign national is issued depends principally upon the nature of the foreign national's proposed activities in the United States, the duration of those activities, and in some instances, his or her nationality. It is often easiest to understand NIVs and their limitations, criteria, and characteristics by distinguishing them in terms of the principal activity authorized by the visa: (a) employment-based NIVs; (b) NIVs for students and exchange visitors; (c) NIVs for business visitors and tourists; and (d) other NIV categories including diplomats, international civil servants, and family relatives.

Temporary worker visas are for persons who want to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time and are not considered permanent or indefinite. Most of these visas requires the prospective employer to first file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). An approved petition is required to apply for a work visa.




H-3 visas are available for any type of training in the U.S. (other than graduate medical education or training) . To obtain an H-3 visa, the employer/sponsor must secure an H-3 petition approval from the USCIS in the U.S. To secure this approval, a detailed training plan must be submitted and consist of the following:


  • A fixed schedule for the training with a detailed description of each stage indicating precisely how the knowledge will be imparted (e.g. observation, classroom instruction, on­-the-job training) and how long each activity will take (number of hours). The syllabus must indicate exactly how many hours will be spent on classroom instruction,  and how many  hours will be spent on on-the-job training.

  • An explanation as to why the proposed training is not available in the individual's home country and why it is necessary for the visitor to be trained in the U.S.

  • An explanation as to how the training will help the visitor with his or her career abroad.

  • An affirmation that the visitor will not be placed in positions which are involved in the normal operation of business and in which U.S. workers are regularly employed.

  • An affirmation that the visitor will not engage in productive employment unless such employment is incidental and necessary to the training.

  • An explanation as to how the trainee will be supervised (by whom, how often, and in what setting).

Note also that the regulations do not allow for the issuance of H-3 visas to individuals who already possess substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training. Therefore, if the candidate already possesses experience and/or expertise, it will be necessary to explain how the proposed training will differ from his or her prior experience and precisely what he or she will be learning that will be new. Kindly note that the government tends to scrutinize H-3 filings much more  than J-1 applications. As such, it is often necessary to provide considerably more detailed training program materials for an H-3 than for a J-1 application. This additional work normally causes preparation time to increase.


H-3 visa status can be held for up to two years. Note also that H-3 trainees are often required to be outside of the U.S. for at least six months following the completion of their training before they may be admitted in H or L visa status.

More detailed, case-specific advice is available from Matthews Immigration Group by scheduling a consultation.