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Temporary Trainee Visa (H-3)

The H-3 nonimmigrant visa allows an alien to enter the United States based on the sponsorship of a business, organization, or individual for the purpose of receiving specialized training. The visa is available to individuals seeking training in any occupational field or endeavor. However, physicians are normally prohibited from using an H-3 visa to obtain any type of graduate medical education or training.

General Requirements:

  • The training must be unavailable in the alien's home country.
  • The training must be for the purpose of pursuing a career outside of the United States.
  • The sponsoring business must provide a detailed training program specifically outlining the type of training and supervision that will be provided. Classroom instruction should be a large part of the training program.
  • Trainees must not be placed in a position where U.S. workers are regularly employed in the course of the sponsor's normal business operations. Trainees are not allowed to engage in productive employment, except for employment that is incidental and necessary to the training.
  • H-3 visas do not allow for dual intent. The alien must demonstrate that he or she will not abandon residence in a foreign country and that he or she intends to depart at the end of the training period.

Derivative Benefits and Time Limitations:

  • The spouse and children of an H-3 visa holder may accompany the trainee to the United States on an H-4 visa. H-4 visa holders may not accept employment unless they independently qualify for another nonimmigrant status for which employment is authorized.
  • An H-3 visa allows the trainee and accompanying H-4 beneficiaries to remain in the United States for up to two years. If the initial visa authorizes a stay of less than two years, the alien may request an extension up to the two-year deadline.


  • The sponsoring business files an I-129 petition on behalf of the alien wish USCIS.
  • Upon approval of the petition, the alien applies for a nonimmigrant visa at the appropriate consulate. The alien must then schedule an interview appointment with the consulate.
  • After a successful interview, the consulate will issue the visa and the alien may legally travel to the United States and seek admission at a port of entry.
  • Certain aliens holding another lawful nonimmigrant status may be eligible to change their status to H-3.


A large software company plans on marketing software in a country where it has been previously unknown. The software company may petition on behalf of an alien in that country for training with the software in the United States.

Contact David F. Vedder, P.A.

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