H-3 Visas for Trainees

An H-3 visa is for a temporary worker invited to the U.S. by company for the purposes of receiving training or instruction.  The purpose of the training program must be one that is not designed primarily to provide productive employment.

The requirements for the H-3 are that the following:

The proposed training is not available in the beneficiary’s home country;

  • The beneficiary will not be placed in a position that is in the normal operation of the business in which citizen and resident workers are regularly employed;
  • No productive employment shall occur unless it is incidental and necessary to the training and pursuing a career outside the U.S.;
  • The training will benefit the beneficiary in pursuing a career outside the U.S.

The admission period for an H-3 is for a maximum of 2 years.  USCIS does not permit any extensions of H-3 status beyond the 2 year maximum, nor does it permit an H-3 visa holder to change to change to any H or L status until they have been outside the U.S. for 6 months.  The only exception to this rule is in a situation where the H-3 trainee has had less than 6 months of training in the U.S.

Question: I am in the U.S. as a trainee on a J-1 visa.  Can I change status to H-3?

Answer: Yes, but the H-3 training should be a different type of training that you received in your J-1 program.


Question: I am in an H-3 training program and my employer wants to hire me in H-1B status.  Is this possible?

Answer: Yes, but only if the H-3 training you have received has been for less than 6 months.