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H-3 Trainee Visas

The H-3 classification applies to persons coming temporarily to the U.S. to participate in a training program. There are general H-3s, as well as H-3s for those coming to the U.S. for a special education training program. There is no annual cap on general H-3 admissions to the U.S. There is a numerical cap on the number of H-3 special education exchange visitors. No more than 50 may be approved in a fiscal year.

Related Pages:

  1. H-3 Nonimmigrant Trainee (USCIS)

Petition Document Requirements

The petitioning employer or sponsors must demonstrate that the:

  1. Proposed training is not available in the beneficiary’s home country
  2. The beneficiary will not be placed in a position which is in the normal operation of the business, and in which citizens and resident alien workers are regularly employed.
  3. The beneficiary will not be productively employed except as incidental to training.
  4. Training will benefit beneficiary in pursuing a career outside the U.S.

Note: H-3 status is not appropriate for graduate education, including medical training, except under special circumstances. Petitioning employers may not use H-3 classification for training programs primarily designed to benefit the U.S. companies and/or where U.S. workers would be employed but for the trainees’ services.

Period of Stay

If the petition is approved, the trainee may be allowed to remain in the United States for up to 2 years. If the trainee petition is approved for a special education exchange visitor, the trainee may remain in the United States for up to 18 months.


Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of H-3 principal trainees are entitled to H-4 status with the same restrictions as the principal. Dependents may not be employed under the H-4 status.

Including more than one alien in a petition

Aliens who will apply for their visas at the same consulate or, if they do not need visas, will enter at the same port of entry may be included in one petition if the dates of training are the same, and they will perform the same duties.

Special Education Exchange Visitor

The H-3 classification also applies to an alien coming temporarily to participate in a special education training program in the education of children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.

Petition Document Requirements

The petition (Form I-129) must be filed by the U.S. employer who has a professional staff and a structured program for providing education to children with disabilities. The petition must be filed with:

  1. A description of the training, staff, and facilities, evidence the program meets the above conditions and details of the alien’s participation in the program.
  2. Copies of evidence the alien is nearing completion of a baccalaureate degree in special education, already hold such a degree or have extensive prior training and experience in teaching children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
  3. A detailed description of the training program, including the number of classroom hours per week and the number of hours of on-the-job training per week.
  4. A summary of the prior training and experience of each alien in the petition.
  5. An explanation of why the training is required, whether similar training is available in the alien’s country, how the training will benefit the alien in pursuing a career abroad, what benefits the employer will derive from the training, and why the employer will incur the cost of providing the training without significant productive labor from the trainee(s).

H-3 Visas: Additional Resources

  1. AAO Non-Precedent Decisions on H-3 Petitions
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