The H-3 nonimmigrant visa is useful for a limited group of people; namely those who have been invited to participate in a training program in the United States. The training may be offered by a U.S. branch of their own company or by an unrelated U.S. company. However, the training must be unavailable in the worker's home country.
There are no limits on the number of people who can be granted H-3 visas each year.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)'s regulations (8 C.F.R. § 214.2(h)) recognize some specific types of trainees as potentially H-3 eligible, including certain medical interns or residents; licensed nurses who need a brief period of training that is unavailable in their native country; and special education exchange visitors. The requirements for the latter group are slightly different than for other trainees.
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of the H-3 visa include:
A person may qualify for an H-3 visa if coming to the U.S. for on-the-job training to be provided by a U.S. company. Productive employment in the U.S. can be only a minor part of the total program. The purpose of the training should be to further a career in the person's home country. Similar training opportunities must not be available there.
Unfortunately, few training programs meet USCIS's strict qualifications. Many people find it cheaper and easier to apply for a B-1 business visitor visa, especially if the training program lasts for less than six months (the maximum stay on a B-1 visa).
The applicant must also possess the necessary background and experience to complete the U.S. training program successfully. Obviously, however, this should be the first time he or she will receive this particular type of training. And, as with many nonimmigrant visas, the applicant are eligible for an H-3 visa only if he or she intends to return to the home country when the visa expires.
The type of training programs that successfully lead to H-3 visas usually exist in one of two situations. Either a multinational company with branches in various countries wishes to train employees in its U.S. branches before sending them to work elsewhere; or, a U.S. company wishes to establish a beneficial business relationship with a foreign company.
For details about what to expect and do during the H-3 visa application process, see the book U.S. Immigration Made Easy (Nolo). You might also wish to consult an immigration attorney for a full personal analysis of your eligibility, and for help with the application process.