H-3 Visas

Foreigners traveling to the United States who are holders of H-3 visas require a prior invitation. Either to receive training as apprentices or as special visitors in a special education exchange program. 

The H-3 non-immigrant visa allows professionals in various branches to stay and study in the country temporarily. It is a visa that is requested when the person requires special training not available in their country of origin. 


Los Angeles immigration lawyers at Lluis Law specialize in H-3 visas and other visa categories. If you want a free consultation to tell us about your case, call now. We will gladly answer all your questions.

So, what are H-3 visas?

It is basically a visa for a foreign trainee or special visitor. The H-3 visa does not cover full-time studies or medical training programs. As is the case with the J-1 visa, which serves to receive training and job training and includes doctors.

H-3 visa applicants, by contrast, participate in mostly vocational educational programs. As well as non-academic skills development courses and programs. For example, a helicopter pilot course that does not exist in your country.

Another requirement for this visa is to demonstrate that the training program will grant the applicant unique knowledge and skills. Furthermore, the intention to return to the applicant’s country of origin at the end of the training program must be demonstrated.

Some of the companies or organizations that apply for these visas for foreign workers are: 

  1. Multinational companies with subsidiaries abroad that require training their foreign employees to work in other countries. 
  2. Companies that promote strategic alliances and exchanges with other foreign companies.

What programs qualify for H-3 visas in 2020?

The H-3 Visa Study Program is divided into two very precise training program categories. On the one hand, there are training programs in various technical areas and special education training programs.

However, a sine qua non ( necessary) requirement is to be previously invited by a person or organization in the USA. This organization or person must be the one who administers any of the programs mentioned below:

H-3 visa for professionals

Training programs

While there is no specific training program to qualify there is a restriction. The H-3 visa holder cannot take any training course in the medical or general health area. 

The most in-demand H-3 visa training programs are: 

  • Government. 
  • Finance.
  • Company.
  • Transport.
  • Sciences.
  • Farming.
  • Communications (design and networks, translation).
  • Arts.

Special education exchange programs

H-3 visas do not allow for full-time academic study programs. However, there are specific special education exchange visitor programs that may qualify for this visa. 

For example, training programs aimed at teaching therapeutic treatments for children with disabilities. It must be a formal program with a structured content and administered by qualified personnel.

When applying for the visa, the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will ask you to provide a synopsis of the complete program. Also details related to its operation.

H-3 visa requirements for organizations

The US organization that applies abroad for the H-3 visa exchange program must meet certain requirements:

  • It is a training program not available in the applicant’s home country.
  • The exchange visitor cannot displace workers or occupy a position that would normally be held by an American.
  • You also cannot participate in any type of productive employment, unless it is incidental and is needed for the purposes of the program. 
  • The benefits of the program must be to train the foreigner in a career that he will carry out outside the USA.
  • It must be a specific training program. With defined objectives, means of evaluation, and start and end dates. 
  • It cannot be a training program in areas of necessary knowledge abroad. That is, it has social, economic or cultural relevance in the country of the applicant.
  • The program should not be a way to recruit and train foreigners to be employed in the United States.

H-3 visas requirements for foreign applicants

Applicants for an H-3 are required to include in their application a statement explaining how the training program will benefit them. Below we mention the elements that such a statement must contain: 

  • Detailed description of the type of training and supervision that the applicant expects to receive in the training program.
  • Determine the amount of time you will spend on the practical part of the program.
  • Demonstrate the number of hours you will devote to theoretical training and practical on-the-job training.
  • Indicate why the training program cannot be obtained in your country of origin. In addition to why he has chosen the United States to train.
  • Indicate where you will get the financial compensation as an apprentice. Just like any other benefit you receive from the organization or employer that will provide the training.

When can an H-3 visa petition be rejected?

Denial of H-3 visas may be due to inherent deficiencies in the training program, including:

  • Inaccuracy of the content of the program in terms of objectives, schedules, evaluation methods and other generalizations.
  • It is not compatible with the type of business or company of the US petitioner.
  • The program has been requested for a foreigner who does not require it. Either because you already have experience or have already received training in the proposed area.
  • The object of study and training is unlikely to be really useful outside of the USA.
  • It seeks only to recruit and train foreign labor for a purpose other than the spirit of the visa program.
  • It is not possible to demonstrate that the petitioner has the physical space and technical personnel to provide the proper training.
  • The program exceeds the total time allowed for the foreign student to obtain their practical experience.

Requirements for Special Education Exchange Visitors

The number of annual visas for this category is quite limited. The government only approves a maximum of 50 of these visas per year. Obtaining the H-3 visa for special education exchange visitors requires the following:

  • It is essential that the H-3 special education exchange visitor’s request be submitted by an appropriate center. The professional training center must be trained in the requested area. That is, the treatment of children with disabilities.
  • The training center must have a structured program to train instructors in the education of children with disabilities. It must also provide the student with training and practical training.
  • The special education visitor exchange program, on the other hand, requires meeting the following guidelines:
  • Describe the type of training the foreigner will receive.
  • Offer details related to the professional staff that will offer the training and the facilities where the course will be held.
  • Explain how the foreigner will participate in the training program.

Likewise, the organization and / or employer of the United States must demonstrate that the applicant for the program:

  • He is a quasi-professional. In other words, he is very close to completing his bachelor degree in special education; or
  • He is already a university professional with a degree in the area of ​​special education and requires more training; or 
  • He has vast experience teaching children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.

If custody, company or childcare is part of the training required by the visa applicant, such care should only be incidental to the training.

H-3 visa benefits

Among the greatest benefits offered by the H-3 visa to its holders is:

  • Participate in a training program taught by a US company and work legally on it on a temporary basis.
  • It is a category of visa that is issued more quickly.
  • It allows its holders to travel freely within and outside the United States while the visa is in force. 
  • It offers the possibility of jointly processing an H-4 visa for accompanying family members. These derived visas authorize family members (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) to study but not to work.
H3 visa benefits

How do I apply for the H-3 visa?

To process the H-3 visa it is necessary that the US employer / organization first applies for the foreign apprentice. This is done through Form I-129. The full description of the training program is included in the request, as indicated above.

After completing Form I-129, it must be submitted to USCIS. Based on the information on the form, USCIS approves or denies the petition filed. Although when you have the proper legal advice, this does not happen.

Our immigration attorneys can assist you throughout the petition process. We provide proper advice to fill out Form I-129 and gather all the requested information. We also advise the foreign worker at every step.   

Once the I-129 form is approved, the foreign applicant will be able to continue with the H-3 visa application process. To do this you must perform the following steps:

  1. Complete the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form, which is available on the website of the US Embassy. It is advisable to check with your immigration attorney in advance. 
  2. Schedule the interview with the consular officer at the embassy headquarters. This is done after completing Form DS-160.
  3. Pay the filing and application fees for the H-3 visa. The fee for Form I-129 is $ 460 (paid by the petitioner in the US). While that of form DS-160 is $ 190. That is paid by the foreign applicant.
  4. Gather and present the required documents about the applicant’s program and education, along with the other general requirements:
  • Valid passport.
  • Applicant’s passport photograph.
  1. Schedule and attend the interview at the embassy / consulate on the scheduled day and time. The immigration officer will ask you questions related to the program and your need for training. You will also want to make sure that when you finish your studies you will return to your country.

What restrictions apply to H-3 visas?

An H-3 visa applicant should be aware of the restrictions listed below:

  • The beneficiary can only work for the employer that applied for the H-3 visa. If the foreign worker wants to change their training program, then they must apply for another H-3 visa.
  • The validity of the H-3 visa is for the duration of the training program. 
  • If the employer requests a Work Certificate in the name of the foreign worker or any other migratory resource to favor him, the visa extension request will be rejected. However, you can consult with an experienced immigration attorney to find another alternative.
  • When the H-3 visa expires after 2 years, the beneficiary must return to their country of origin.

If you want to apply again for an H visa or an L-1 visa , you must wait a minimum period of 6 months outside the USA. Unless the person may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status because they were married or requested by a family member.

This benefit does not apply if the worker does not reside in the US continuously and if the employer was temporary. Nor if the hiring was for six months or less than a year.

How long can I stay in the USA with an H-3 visa?

The total time spent in the country is determined by the duration of the program. It is possible to apply for a visa extension once a year up to a maximum of 2 years. Only if necessary to finish the training program.

However, for special education training programs, the visitor can extend their stay up to 18 months.


If you need to obtain an immigrant visa for the United States, you can call us and we will gladly help you. Lluis Law immigration attorneys have over 40 years helping Latino immigrants know how to get a the Green Card.