- What is the H3 visa?
- What are the eligibility requirements for an H3 Visa?
- Which training problems are not eligible for the H3 Visa?
- What are the eligibility requirements for the special education exchange visitors?
- What are the limits to the H3 Visa for trainee and special education training programs?
- How to apply for the H3 Visa from Canada
- What is required in the written statement for the special education training program?
- What is required in the written statement for an H3 Visa?
- What documents are required for the H3 Visa application?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the H3 visa?
The H3 visa is a nonimmigrant US visa that allows the holders to travel to the US temporarily for training purposes. It is for people who wish to attend a training program that is not available in their own country, and/or is not classified as a graduate medical education. It is also available for exchange visitors who want to obtain practical experience and education in special education programs, specializing in educating children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
With a valid H3 Visa, you are able to travel in and out of the US without any restrictions. You will not be entitled to work under this visa unless it is for practical work that is part of the training program included within the visa application, and can not be unrelated, formal employment.
What are the eligibility requirements for an H3 Visa?
To qualify for an H3 visa, you must be invited by an organization or an individual that is based in the US. The eligible fields for training are as follows:
The US organization or individual that is sponsoring you will also have to be able to provide evidence for the following eligibility requirements:
- The training being offered is not available in Canada, so travel is essential for the field of interest
- That you will not be productively employed, or in a position of a professional capacity within the business
- That all of the training undertaken while you are in the US will be relative and necessary to the chosen field
- That the training will be beneficial to your chosen career upon return to Canada
Which training problems are not eligible for the H3 Visa?
Before applying for the H3 visa, it is important that you first find out whether or not your chosen field will qualify under this particular visa. Some of the programs that may not be approved may include those that:
- Do not have a fixed schedule
- Do not have objectives
- Are incompatible with the US business that invited you to the US originally
- Are being offered to someone who already has substantial training and experience within the field
- Are in a field where the knowledge or skill-set is unlikely to be useful outside of the US
- Will lead to productive employment
- Is designed to train and recruit US citizens outside of the US
- Are designed to simply extend the time allowed for practical training for a student that was previously in the US under a nonimmigrant student visa
The organization or individual sponsoring you (also known as the petitioner) may need to provide substantial evidence of a physical training plan, and proof that they have the trained manpower to actually provide the training without jeopardizing both your education and the functionality of the business. If this can not be provided, the petition for an H3 visa may not be approved.
What are the eligibility requirements for the special education exchange visitors?
An H3 visa is available to those who are looking at specialising in educating children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. The training facility must file the petition to request an H3 visa for you. The institution that is providing the special education training program must meet the following requirements:
- They must have professionally trained staff to provide your training
- They must have a structured program built for education to children with disabilities
- They must be able to provide physical training and hands-on experiences (not entirely theory-based)
- They must be able to provide proof that you have completed, or are nearing the completion of a higher degree program in special education
- They must be able to provide proof that you have already had extensive training and prior experience in teaching children with mental, physical and/or emotional disabilities
What are the limits to the H3 Visa for trainee and special education training programs?
Although there is no limit for the trainee in the US on an H3 visa, there is a statutory numerical limit for the amount of H3 Visas for special education exchange visitors allowed in the US. The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) only approves up to 50 H3 visas for special education visitors every fiscal year. Considering the number of people wanting the opportunity to come and train in the US, you can see how limited these spaces are.
Applicants for the special education training program cannot have custodial care (primary and solo care) of children. Custodial care of a child should only occur as a result of the program that you are training in.
If you have intentions of taking graduate medical training or wish to take your education further in a graduate medical field, you will not be eligible for the H3 Visa, as your intended goals will take you away from the area of expertise.
How to apply for the H3 Visa from Canada
Like most visa applications, the process can be quite long and complex. The H3 Visa application documents for both versions of the H3 Visa will differ, but the application for both is relatively similar. Just like the H-2B Visa as well as other H Visa categories, the US sponsor/petitioner is the person who needs to begin the application process on your behalf.
To begin the H3 classification process, the petitioner must start by filing a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. This petition must include a written statement (more information below), and all supporting documents (as listed below).
The US sponsor can file a petition for multiple applicants at the same time if they intend to take several trainees at once, so long as these trainees will be receiving the same training program as each other, attending at the same locations at the same time.
Once the USCIS has approved the H3 petition, you will be able to apply for the H3 Visa through the US Embassy and Consulates in Canada.
What is required in the written statement for the special education training program?
As part of the application process for an H3 Visa for the special education program, the US petitioner will need to include a written statement alongside Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. In this letter, the petitioner will need to emphasize the level of how you will use your knowledge gained once you return to Canada (or travel elsewhere outside of the US). The letter should provide a detailed description of the following:
- The training that is being offered at the program in which you will be attending
- The level of professionalism and training of the current staff that will be involved with your training
- The level of participation expected of you whilst training
- The types of activities that you will be involved in during your time in the program
You will also be required to provide supporting documentation to show the level of education you have thus far received in relation to the special education training program. This can be your already acquired bachelor’s degree or higher education degree, proof that you are nearly completed either of these degrees, and/or all evidence of training and experience that you have within this field.
What is required in the written statement for an H3 Visa?
As part of the application process, the US petitioner will need to include a written statement alongside Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. In this letter, the petitioner will need to emphasize the level of how you will use your knowledge gained once you return to Canada (or travel elsewhere outside of the US). The letter should provide a detailed description of the following:
- The type of training and supervision you will receive
- The structure of the program you will be attending
- The amount of time that you will devote to productive employment
- The number of hours spent on the job
- Your career in Canada that is connected with your selected training
- Why the training cannot be done in Canada
- Any remuneration that will be received during the training, and the source of the said remuneration
- The benefits that the US organization will gain by providing the training to you
What documents are required for the H3 Visa application?
Once your petitioner’s application has been reviewed, and it has been deemed as being relevant, credible, and sufficient for the H3 Visa, you will be able to apply for the H3 Visa at the US Embassy and Consulates in Canada. Some of the documentation that you will need to present is as follows:
- A completed Form DS-160
- A completed Form I-129
- A completed Form I-797
- Your birth certificate
- A copy of your valid passport
- A passport photograph
- Proof of your intent to return to Canada
Depending on your personal situation, you may be required to attend a visa interview so that the Embassy can further assess your eligibility.
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Spouses and dependent children (unmarried children under the age of 21) can join you in the United States under the H4 visa while you receive your training.
Under this non-immigrant visa, spouses and children are permitted to study and work while in the United States.
If family members would like to visit you in the United States for a short-term holiday, they may also apply for a B2 Tourist visa.
Applying for an H3 visa will involve payment of the following visa-related fees:
- Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker): $460
- H-3 visa application fee: $190
Depending on if the USCIS is experiencing any backlog at the time, you should expect your H-3 petition to be processed within 4-6 weeks. After that, expect another 1-3 months for the H-3 visa application to process