H-3 Visa for the USA

The H-3 visa is intended for people that are foreign nationals looking to receive training in the US. This essentially allows companies to provide training in the US where the employee cannot get that training elsewhere. There are a number of different types of training that come under the eligibility for a H3 visa. It is important to note that a training visa does not enable applicants to study for degrees or other academic training and is instead meant for applicants to acquire new skills to apply in work within their home country.
There are two different types of H3 visa; one is for a trainee when the type of training they are doing is not available in their home country. The training can be in a range of areas including banking, business, transportation and agriculture but cannot be in medicine training.
The other type of H-3 visa is for special education visitors who are receiving training for work with children with special educational needs.
H-3 visas are valid for up to 2 years (or 18 months for special education needs trainees). Unlike many of the other US visas, it is not possible to get an extension of a H-3 visa, although it is possible to apply to change status with another type of visa.
Holders of the H-3 visa are not permitted to work under their visa, they are only entitled to attend training whilst they are in the US. If they bring family members to the US with them then they are also not entitled to work unless they are granted their own visa that entitles employment in the US.
The number of H-3 visas granted each year are very minimal, making them a very difficult type of visa to acquire. Only 50 people from other countries are granted the H-3 visa each year, showing just how rare they are.

Requirements for H-3 visa

The applicant must have a formal invitation from the training institution to take part in the training programme. The type of training must not be available in the applicant’s home country and the applicant must return to their home country once
training is completed. The training must be linked to the applicant’s career progression and they are only allowed to do work that is part of the training whilst in the US.

The H-3 application process

The training institution is required to initiate the H-3 visa by sending a petition to the USCIS detailing the training programme and the details regarding the person who is applying for the training. They will be asked to provide documentation to show evidence of the applicant’s work, prior training and general experience in their field. The institution will also be required to send a I-129 form (Petition for Non-immigrant Worker) to the USCIS.
As the processing can take some time, the application should start months before the training is due to start. The application will be reviewed and if approved, the applicant is then able to apply for the visa through their home country’s US Embassy, where it will be decided whether they are accepted to take up the training and legally allowed to do so in the US. If the Embassy approves the visa, they will be able to travel to the US and undertake the training programme.

Other Visas


H-2B for skilled and unskilled workers

Whilst the H-2A visa applies for temporary workers in the agricultural, the H-2B is for temporary workers that are not within the agriculture industry. These jobs are where employers have struggled to find US workers that are able to do the temporary work and must therefore employ foreign nationals to do the essential work. Only nationals of the countries that have been agreed by the DHS are eligible for a H-2B visa, see the full list of countries here.

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H-2A for seasonal agricultural workers

The H-2A visa is available specifically for foreign nationals to take on seasonal agricultural work. This type of visa is only applicable for temporary and seasonal work and not long-term work. Typically, it can be difficult for employers to fill their vacancies for this type of work, particularly given the short-term nature of it, so it is often in their interests to employ foreign nationals to perform the duties due to higher levels of availability.

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B-2 for pleasure or for medical treatment

The B-2 visa enables tourists to enter the US, where an ESTA is not applicable either because the applicant is not from one the Visa Waiver Program countries, or because their intended trip is for longer than the duration limit of the ESTA (90 days). The B2 visa is often referred to as the tourist visa USA and can also be used for travellers that are going to the US to receive medical treatment.

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