What is the H3 visa?
The H3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to temporarily come to the United States as an intern to receive professional training in any field other than undergraduate medical education, or as a special education exchange visitor to participate in a program special education-focused on helping children with disabilities.
Thanks to the H3 visa, you can come to the United States to receive training that is not available in your home country. You can then use the experience and skills you gain in the United States to find work abroad. Please note that if you come to the United States on an H3 visa, you will not be able to work.
Who qualifies as an H3 visa intern?
In order to receive the H3 visa, trainees must be invited by an individual or organization to come to the United States to receive training that will help them find work outside the United States. Foreign nationals can train in any field, including communications, finance, transportation and agriculture. However, other sectors may also be eligible for the H3 visa.
To accept an intern, a US employer or organization must be able to demonstrate that:
- The training programs offered are not available in the foreign citizen’s country.
- The H3 visa holder will not be placed in a position where US citizens and permanent residents are regularly employed.
- The H3 visa holder will not be able to work legally in the United States.
- The training is intended to help the foreign citizen who comes as an intern find work outside the United States.
Before the foreign national can begin applying for the H3 visa, a U.S. employer or organization must file a petition with USCIS on her behalf. The petition must include the following information:
- The type of training that will be given to the H3 visa holder
- The structure of the training program
- The duration of the training
- The reason why training cannot be obtained in the visa applicant’s country of origin
- The reason why it is necessary for the applicant to receive training in the United States
- The salary the intern will receive
- The benefits the employer or organization will gain from hiring an intern.
Who qualifies as a special education exchange visitor?
Organizations wishing to host special education exchange visitors must have professionally trained staff who know how to care for and provide education to children with disabilities. Only 50 special education exchange visitors are eligible to enter the United States each year.
The process of applying for an H3 visa as a special education exchange visitor begins with the facility submitting a petition to USCIS. The petition must include the following:
- Description of the training that the foreign citizen will receive
- Overview of the facility’s professional staff
- Description of what the foreign citizen’s tasks will be during the training course
- Evidence that the special education exchange visitor has completed or is in the process of completing a baccalaureate or higher degree program in special education, or evidence that the special education exchange visitor has extensive experience working with children with physical, mental or emotional.
What are the requirements for the H3 visa?
Regardless of whether you want to receive the H3 visa as a trainee or as a special education exchange visitor, you must meet the following requirements:
- Do not come to the United States for the purpose of receiving graduate medical education.
- Don’t come to the United States to look for work
- You are not a US citizen or permanent resident
- Come to the United States to receive training that will help you find work in another country.
- Be able to demonstrate that the same training is not available in your home country.
As for organizations that want to host H3 visa holders, they must:
- Be able to provide a detailed description of the training, its objectives and the program
- Be able to demonstrate that the training can help the foreign citizen find work in another country.
- Be able to demonstrate that the training is relevant to the field in which the candidate specializes
- Be able to provide an example of how the foreign national can use the skills and experience gained during training after leaving the United States.
- Be able to demonstrate that the organization is adequately trained to work with children with disabilities.
If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements for the H3 visa, speak to our immigration lawyers. They will assess your eligibility and can help you apply. If they determine that the H3 visa is not the right permit for you, they will advise you on what other US visas you can apply for. For example, if the primary purpose of your trip to the United States is to participate in a short recreational course of study, you may apply for the B2 tourist visa instead.
How to apply for H3 visa?
The H3 visa application process begins with a U.S. employer or organization filing Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers on behalf of the visa applicant. If you do not have a US sponsor, you will not be able to apply for the H3 visa. The petition must be submitted no more than six months before the intended start of the training.
Once your petition is approved by USCIS, you will be able to proceed with your application. To do this, you will need to fill out and submit Form DS-160 to the U.S. consulate in your home country. You will also need to include the following documents:
- Form I-797
- Valid passport
- Passport size photograph
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate (if you are legally married)
- Proof that you have connections in your home country that will get you back there once your visa expires.
To ensure you have completed your application forms correctly, please seek advice from one of our immigration lawyers. Any errors can lead to a delay or even rejection of your visa application.
What are the privileges and limitations of the H3 visa?
If you are granted the H3 visa, you will be able to enter the United States and receive professional training. While your H3 visa is valid, you will be able to exit and re-enter the United States as many times as you wish. Also, if you want to bring your loved ones to the United States, they can apply for the H4 visa and accompany you.
There are, however, some limitations of the H3 visa. When you are in the United States on the H3 visa, you will not be able to receive any type of medical training and you will not be able to look for regular employment. Likewise, if your dependents come with you to the United States, they will not be able to work. Finally, once your visa expires, you will need to leave the United States immediately. It cannot be extended.
How long is the H3 visa valid?
If you receive the H3 visa as a Trainee, you will be able to come to the United States and stay for up to two years. If, however, you are coming to the United States as a special education exchange visitor, your H3 visa will be valid for up to eighteen months.
There are no travel restrictions on the H3 visa. This means that while your visa is valid, you can leave the United States to travel and then return without losing your status. Furthermore, there is no limit to the duration of your stay abroad.
Keep in mind, however, that once the initial validity of your visa expires, you will have to leave the United States. There are no H3 visa extensions. If you really need to stay in the US longer, you can apply for a change of status, for example, for the H1B visa. To qualify, you must receive a job offer and a U.S. employer must complete Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers for you.
Can I bring dependents to the United States on the H3 visa?
As an H3 visa holder, you can bring your dependents, including your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21, with you to the United States. In order for your family to come with you, however, your dependents must apply for the H4 visa. It is a permit intended for dependent family members of H visa holders.
To apply for the H4 visa, your family members must fill out the DS-160 form online and pay the application fee of $190. If their application is approved, they will be able to temporarily live in the United States and study. However, they will not be able to work.
Their H4 visa will be valid as long as your H3 visa is valid.
What is the H3 visa processing time?
On average, the processing time for petitions that begin the H3 visa application process takes four to six weeks. After that, you can expect to wait one to three months more for your H3 visa application to be processed.
If you need to make a decision sooner, you can opt for Premium processing. Then your request will be processed within 15 calendar days. The service, however, is not cheap, costing $1440.
By making mistakes in your application or forgetting to include some of the required information, your H3 visa processing time may take longer. This is why we recommend that you seek assistance from an immigration lawyer.
How much does the H3 visa cost?
The total cost of the H3 visa is $460. However, if your application is urgent and you want to speed up the application process, you may have to pay an additional premium processing fee of $1440.
Can I work with H3 visa?
The purpose of the H3 visa is to allow foreign citizens to receive professional training in the United States that will help them find work in another country. That said, H3 visa holders are not permitted to work in the United States. The only time you may be allowed to work is if it is part of the training program.
Why was my H3 visa denied?
There are usually more H3 visa applicants available. That’s why USCIS rejects some of the requests. Common reasons H3 visas are denied are:
- The limit has already been reached
- The US organization did not file a petition with USCIS in time
- The training program is not structured correctly
- Similar training is available in the applicant’s home country.
- If your H3 visa application has been denied but you still wish to come to the United States, contact our immigration lawyers. They will evaluate your eligibility for other US visas and help you apply for one of them.