What is an H3 Visa?
The H3 visa is a US nonimmigrant visa that allows UK nationals and foreign nationals from other countries to come to the US temporarily to receive training in a training program that isn’t available in the applicant’s home country and is not classified as graduate medical education.
It is also for exchange visitors who want to gain practical training and experience in special education programs for educating children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
With a valid H3 visa, you can travel in and out of the US without restrictions. Also, you can take on the training you included in your visa application. However, you cannot work in the US unless it’s practical work as part of the training program’s curriculum and not formal employment.
Scroll to read more information on the H3 trainee and special education training program visas, including the requirements, costs, and how UK citizens can apply from the UK.
What are the eligibility requirements for trainees?
An individual or organisation must invite an eligible trainee to receive job-related training in the US for work performed outside the US. The eligible fields include:
In addition, the U.S. organisation that’s sponsoring the UK resident must be able to prove that:
- The training is not available in the UK or the home country of the trainee
- The trainee will not be productively employed or a position of a professional capacity within the business’ normal operation in the US
- Any on the job training done by the trainee while in the US will be necessary to the training and incidental
- The training is beneficial to the trainee’s career outside the US
What training programs are not eligible for the H3 visa?
Some training programs may not be approved for the US H3 visa. Before starting your H3 visa application with a trainee petition, ensure you know what training programs may not be approved. Some of those programs include those that:
- Don’t have a fixed schedule, objectives, or can be evaluated
- Don’t have a fixed schedule
- Are incompatible with the U.S business that invited the trainee
- Are for a trainee that already has substantial training and expertise in that area
- Are in a field where the knowledge or skill is unlikely to be used outside the US
- Will lead to productive employment besides what’s necessary to the training
- Is designed to train non-citizens of the US to recruit them as staff in the US.
- Are designed to extend the time allowed for practical training that was authorised for a nonimmigrant student, previously
Also, suppose the petitioner (the US organisation sponsoring the training) cannot establish that they have a physical plan and the trained manpower to provide the training. In that case, the petition may not be approved for H3 classification.
What are the eligibility requirements for special education exchange visitors?
The facility providing the training must file the petition to request an H3 visa for a special education exchange visitor. That training institution providing the special education training program must meet the following requirements:
- Have professionally trained staff to provide the training
- Have a structured program built for education to children with disabilities
- Be able to provide training and hands-on experience to those in special education training programs
In addition, the petitioner must be able to prove that the exchange visitor is:
- Nearing the completion of a higher degree program in special education; or
- Has already earned a higher degree in special education; or
- Already has extensive prior training and experience in teaching children with mental, physical, or emotional disabilities
The limits to the H3 visa for trainee & special education training program
Although the trainee H3 visa has no limit, there is a statutory numerical limit to the number of H3 visas for special education exchange visitors. The USCIS approves up to 50 H3 visas for special education exchange visitors every fiscal year.
Also, if you are applying to join a special education training program, you cannot have custodial care of children. If there’s custodial care of children, that should be incidental.
Furthermore, foreign nationals, including UK citizens, who want to take graduate medical training or education in a graduate medical area are not eligible for this visa.
If you have any questions about the H3 US visa, contact our expert immigration lawyers to discuss your concerns and assist you with your H3 visa process. Call us today on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online via live chat or email.
How to apply for the H3 visa from the UK
The H3 visa application documents for both forms of the H3 visa differ. However, the H3 process is similar for both programs. Like the H2B visa and other H visa categories, the US sponsor must begin the application process.
To get H3 classification, the petitioner (US employer or organisation) must file a Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker. This petition must include a written statement and supporting documents.
The sponsor can file a petition for multiple applicants at the same time as long as all the trainees will receive the same training program at the same time and location.
After the USCIS approves the H3 petition, the foreign national who is to become a trainee or special education participant can apply for the H3 visa at the US Embassy or consulates in the United Kingdom.
The statement for the special education exchange visitor
The written statement must provide a detailed description of the:
- Training and program the foreign national will receive
- Facility’s professional staff
- Participation and activities of the foreign national in the training program
In the petition, the US sponsor must emphasise how you (the special education exchange visitor) will use your knowledge outside the US.
Also, you will provide supporting documents to prove that you how or are nearing the completion of a bachelor’s degree or higher education degree in special education and evidence of any training and experience you have in the same field.
The statement for a trainee
In the written statement submitted for the H3 trainee and proposed training, there must be a detailed description of:
- The type of training and supervision
- Structure of the program
- The time that the UK citizen will devote to productive employment
- The number of classroom hours spent on the training
- The number of hours spent on the job
- The UK citizen’s career abroad that is connected with the training
- Why the training cannot be done in the trainee’s home country and why the training must be done in the US
- Any remuneration received by the training and the source of the said remuneration
- The benefit the US organisation will get from providing the training
We can assist you with your H3 visa application. For more information, call 0333 305 9375. You can also contact us online.
H3 visa application documents
After officers have reviewed every evidence provided in your sponsor’s petition and have deemed them to be relevant, credible, and sufficient for the H3 visa, you can apply for the H3 visa at the US Embassy in the UK. When applying, you are required to submit some documents that include:
- A completed Form DS-160
- Form I-129 and Form I-797
- Your birth certificate
- A copy of your valid passport
- A passport photograph
- Proof of your intent to return to the UK, such as a future job contract
Depending on your situation, you may need to attend a visa interview so that the Embassy or consulate can further assess your eligibility for the H3 visa.
What is the H3 visa processing time?
Officers in the US will review your sponsor’s petition before you can apply. Your application will also be reviewed in the US Embassy. All of those take time.
The H3 visa processing time depends on your program and may vary from a few weeks to three months.
Can I renew my H3 visa?
H3 trainees or special education visitors can extend their visas, depending on how long they have stayed in the US. You can extend your H3 visa if your original stay in the US on an H3 visa for up to two years (for trainees) or 18 months (for special education exchange visitors).
To extend your visa, your US sponsor must file another petition using Form I-129 and H Classification Supplement. This petition will be fully documented in the same way the first petition was and include:
- A letter from the US sponsor that is:
- Requesting the extension of the H3 status for the trainee; and
- Explaining why the training hadn’t been completed
- A copy of the UK citizen’s Form I-94 and Form I-797
Also, when applying for a visa extension, the H4 dependent will need to submit an application to extend or change non-immigrant visa status through Form I-539. While doing so, they must provide proof of their relationship with the H3 beneficiary, such as a marriage or birth certificate and other documents.
How long does an H3 visa last?
The H3 trainees or special education exchange visitors have a different maximum period of stay that can be approved. The H3 trainees may remain in the United States for up to 2 years, while the Special Education visitors may be permitted to stay for up to 18 months.
You cannot apply to extend the H3 visa. You must leave the United States when your visa expires and reside outside the US for at least six months before you can start an application for an H or L visa.
Can you bring Dependents?
Dependents can join H3 visa holders in the US. Allowed dependents are the legal spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. To bring your spouse and unmarried children with you, your dependents must apply for the H4 visa. They can apply for their visa when you are applying for yours.
If they are approved for the H4 visa, they can come to the US from their home country to live for as long as their authorisation is valid, but they are not permitted to work. However, they can pursue education and open a bank account in the US.
We know how complex the US immigration system is and are experienced in obtaining US visas from the UK. Our immigration lawyers can:
- Assess your eligibility for the H3 visa.
- Liaise with your US sponsor and the USCIS on your behalf.
- Guide you through the application process
- Assist your sponsor in filling the petitions and completing the application forms
- Help you gather proof that you meet the requirements
- Provide legal advice and answer any questions you may have about the H3 visa application.
Total Law will provide you with an experienced immigration attorney with expert experience and knowledge in the US immigration system and can help you ensure your application is completed to the highest standards to increase your chances of a successful outcome.
If you would like to know more about our services or find out how we can help you, call us today on 0333 305 9375.
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It costs $460 to file Form I-129 for the H3 visa to the USCIS. The company or petitioner usually pays for that fee. When the visa holder is applying, they must pay an application fee of $190; this is the same for all H visas.
In addition, there is the optional $1440 for premium processing. This is only necessary if your visa application is urgent and you wish to fasten the process.
You are not permitted to work with an H3 visa unless that work is not classified as employment or paid and is part of your training.
If you want to work in the United States, you can apply for a change of status to a work visa, such as the H1B visa, as long as you haven’t held H3 status for more than six months.
US organisations seeking an H3 visa for a nurse must also prove that they have a full and unrestricted nursing license to work in the country where they got their nursing education. That country must be the United States or Canada.
The H3 visa is a non-immigrant permit. As such, it can’t be used to get permanent residency in the US. If you want to get a green card, you can apply for a work visa such as the EB3 visa to get permanent residency in the US.