Non-immigrants and tourists alike visit California every year. To gain entry into America, you will need to apply for a visa. There are several ways that you or your loved one could use to obtain a visa. To be eligible to enter the United States, you will need to have a US visa stamp on your passport. Despite having a US visa stamp on your passport, you can still have your entry into the United States denied by the Department of Homeland Security.

To avoid uncertainty and confusion, you should hire an immigration attorney who will guide you on the visa application process and show you the dos and the don’ts. The California Immigration Attorney is a law firm that will ensure your visa application process is smooth and stress-free. At the California Immigration Attorney law firm, you will have all your questions regarding your visa application process answered. This article will take you through the visa application process for a training opportunities visa(H3).

Training Opportunities Visa (H-3)

This nonimmigrant visa is mostly used by students invited by a sponsoring institution in the U.S to participate in a specific training program in the United States.

This training opportunity visa is offered to students who wish to gain knowledge in a unique training program and is not available in their country. The training provided under the H-3 visa is classified as a practical program aimed at equipping the applicant with some advanced skills in their field of specialization. This training does not involve medical practice, and an applicant cannot attain a full academic degree.

This training aims to equip you with the necessary skills to utilize when you go back to your home country after the training. This visa is limited to invitees to a specific training program.

This specific training can be offered by the institution that invites you or another company in the U.S even though it is unrelated to the company that asks you.

 If you want to train in the United States, you can have a sponsoring organization or your trainers apply for an H-3 training visa to allow you to stay within the U.S for 18 to 24 months on your behalf. This visa is mostly utilized by American employers who want to provide their foreign staff with essential training.

This visa allows you to enter the United States and pursue your preferred training provided an institution in the US admits you and the training program is not available in your home country.

H3 Visa Features

This visa will allow you to stay in the United States for the duration of your training, though the maximum permitted period is two years. You are allowed to extend your visa period for one year at a given time, provided you have not completed your initial training, and this extension is only permitted within the two years the visa allows you to be in the U.S.

You can only work for the organization or employer who sponsored your training in the United States. Your H3 visa will allow you to work in the U.S, provided the employment is critical to your training. This work, however, will only be provided by the company that is training you.

When you obtain your H3 visa, you should note that your travel time is included in the permit. Therefore you should include the travel time into your training program.

The H3 visa allows your family to accompany you into the U.S, and you can freely move in or out of the U.S during the period your visa is valid.

If your spouse and, or your unmarried children under 21 wishes to accompany you, they should apply for an H4 visa.

Under the provisions of the H4 visa, your spouse can study part-time while your children are to attend school. The H4 visa provisions do not allow your spouse and children to participate in employment while they are in the United States.

With an H3 Training Visa, you can not change your status to another H visa class or an L visa until you have been outside of the United States for six months. You can, however, request other changes of status before your H3 visa expires.

H3 Visa Qualifications

When coming to the U.S under the H3 visa, you must qualify for on-job training provided by a company in the U.S. You must intend to cover your practice under the following sectors, Agriculture, transportation, computing, commerce, finance, government, and other professions.

For the H3 visa application to be successful, you must prove the following:

  • you can not receive the same training in your country of origin
  • you will not receive graduate training in the United States
  • the training you will receive is not medical
  • you will use the training to advance your career in your home country or another country but not the U.S
  • You will not seek productive employment in the U.S unless it's crucial to your training
  • you will not take work that is meant for U.S citizens or resident workers.
  • Your intention to return to your home country; once your training comes to an end.

Your trainers will have to provide the following prove when they invite you to train with them:

  • As the trainers, they are in a position to offer such training (have well-established and existing facilities with experienced teachers).
  • The training is not usually available in your country of origin.
  • The training will not lead to employment in the United States.
  • You will use the skills acquired outside the US.
  • How compatible the training is with your field of practice.
  • A well-structured training schedule; that has set goals.
  • Your profile, accompanied by the following details:
    • Your education background information like previous degrees,
    • Your previous work experience related to the field of training,
    • Any financial benefits that the trainee will receive while undertaking the training.

You will find that there are very few training institutions that meet the above strict qualifications set by USCIS. You can apply for a B-1 business visa if your training takes a shorter time, like six months or less.

You find that a successful training program is usually facilitated by a multinational company that intends to train its employees in the United States before dispatching them to different branches outside the U.S or from a company that wishes to forge business relationships with another foreign company.

Forms of H3 Visa 

There are two forms of H3 visa, which are:

  • Special Education Exchange
  • Trainee

Special Education Exchange

This category will allow you as a special education exchange visitor to train and gain practical experience in educating children with disabilities and other special needs. This category has a limited number of 50 visitors in a fiscal year.

Your sponsoring institution must file a petition when you wish to undertake your training under the special education exchange visitor program. The training institution must have a structured plan and trained staff to provide education and training to children with special needs and disabilities. The training facility must possess hands-on experience when it comes to dealing with a special education exchange program.

The petition filed by the training organization should include the following details:

  • The training is offered to the special education exchange visitor.
  • A list showing the professional organization staff,
  • The role to be played by the special education visitor,
  • Prove that the organization offers special training,
  • The petition must prove that the special education exchange visitor:
  • Has a higher degree in special education,
  • Is about to complete a higher degree in special education,
  • Has had training in dealing with children with special needs or has experience with children with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities.


If you apply for an H-3 visa as a trainee, you must receive an invitation from an organization that is sponsoring your training.

You should note that the training intention is to provide you with skills that you will use outside the United States and that the training is not a way to gain employment in the US.

H-3 Petition  

The training institution offering you the special education or the training program must file the H-3 petition on your behalf. In the petition, your sponsoring institution should include a description of the training you will undergo or the special education program you will engage in. The H-3 petition must consist of the following statements:

  • The training institution will describe the type of training they offer, their training structure, and their supervision level.
  • The statement will show the allocation of the classroom and on-job training time.
  • Show the number of hours set aside for productive employment.
  • Description of the career the trainee is preparing to pursue.
  • Reasons as to why the training is offered in the US, and why the training is not available in the trainee’s country of origin.

The sponsoring institution should also file Form 1-129; the above information should accompany this form. The training institute should file your petition at least six months before the commencement of your training to allow the USCIS to process the petition.

Once the USCIS reviews form 1-129 together with your documents, they make a decision. USCIS then informs your sponsoring institution of their decision. When USCIS approves your petition, they will send Form 1-797 to your sponsoring institution, and this will be a crucial step in your visa application process.

Training Program Disapproval

Several reasons might lead to training program disapproval; they include:

  • If the training program does not have a fixed schedule, clear objectives, and proper means of evaluation;
  • If the training program is not compatible with your field of expertise;
  • If the trainee has substantial training and expertise in the field of the proposed training field;
  • The training is in an area that is unlikely to offer skills that can be used outside the United States;
  • If the training requires you to have productive employment;
  • if the training design to assist the organizers in acquiring domestic and other staff in the US.    
  • If it is established that the trainer does not have a sufficient workforce to train or their facilities are not adequate to take on trainees.
  • If the training designs’ will allow for an extension of the training period.

H-3 Eligibility for Nurses and Externs

Though H-3 Visa does not cover the medical profession, it is available to nurses and externs under certain circumstances.


Foreign nurses who come to work in the US fall under the H-1C visa category, but they can train under the H-3 Visa category in some limited circumstances. A nurse who is not under H-1 may seek an H-3 visa if they can prove that there is a reason why they should receive special training in the United States for a short period.

The nurse will have to prove that the training is not available in their country of origin and will benefit their community once attained. There are some additional benefit requirements for nurses seeking an H-3 training visa; they are:

  • The nurse has obtained a license to practice professionally in the country that they received their qualifications.
  • The sponsoring organization provides proof that the nurse is fully qualified to undertake the training and is authorized to train the nurse.


Although the H-3 training visa does not offer medical training, some medical students can still train under H-3. This training for medical students is done under limited circumstances. An example is when a hospital approved by the American Medical Association for internship programs petition to have an extern student as an H-3 trainee when they agree to engage in employment as an extern during their vacation.

H-3 Visa Application Process

When applying for the H-3 visa, your US-based organization or employer must petition the non-immigrant worker by filing form 1-129 and providing the required information to USCIS. H-3 visa differs from other visas in that you cannot apply directly to the USCIS. Your sponsoring organization will have to meet all the requirements for sponsoring the training before they can petition on your behalf. They will need to provide information regarding the training program, who will benefit from the program, and their expectations after completing it. You can enter the US on the approval of your visa.

Processing Time

H-3 Visa approval takes four to six weeks, and once it is approved, the visa can be processed within one to three months.

Post-Approval period

Once you receive approval on your petition, you can start applying for your special education or training visa (H-3 visa). You will have to apply for an H-3 visa at the US embassy or consulate in your home country, and you must submit the following documents:

  • Fill out and submit form DS-160 at the US embassy or consulate,
  • Attach the following documents when you submit the form:
  • Form 1-797 and Form 1-129
  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • A regulation photograph that meets US visa requirements
  • Provide proof of employment and permanent residence in your home country.
  • After completing the training program, documents that prove your intent to return to your home country are like a job contract or a title deed.

After submitting the required documents, set an interview appointment date; this interview will form a base to assess if you are qualified and fit to attend the special education program or the training. If your interview is successful, your visa will receive a stamp, indicating that you can follow your training program.

H-3 visa Privileges 

When applying to gain entry to the US on an H-3 visa, you should note that if approved, the permit has the following privileges:

  • Your spouse, children under 21, and siblings could accompany you to the United States with this visa, but you should note that this visa does not allow them to work. However, your family members or dependents can study under an H-4 visa while they are accompanying you.
  • You have the freedom to travel in and out of the US, provided your visa is valid; you should note that travel time is added to your study time.

H-3 Training Visa Restrictions

Some of the restrictions placed on this type of visa include:

  • Lack of visa extension
  • You should exit the US once your visa time expires.
  • You should not gain productive employment while undertaking the training.
  • No employment for your dependents once on the US soil
  • it is not allowed to physicians.
  • You cannot apply for a green card when you have a valid H-3 visa.

You should note that if you want to extend your stay in the US, you will need to apply for a status change. Once your time comes to an end, you will need to leave the US for six months to apply for a status change.

H-3 Visa Validity

A training visa is valid for 18 months up to two years, while your visitors can stay for 18 months. With a training visa, you can have a change in your status by having your employer filing form 1-129 on your behalf at the USCIS. This will have your visa changed from H-3 to TN or H-1B; if your family is with you, your employer will have to file form 1-539 to change their status as well.

The H-3 Visa Application Cost  

When applying for the H-3 Visa, your employer will have to pay $460 to the USCIS as the filing fee. You can, however, speed the application process by paying $1440 as a premium fee.

Can I Apply for Extension When I have an H-3 Visa?

USCIS gives your training institute Form 1-797 when they approve your petition form 1-129, which indicates the time your training will run. But, sometimes, your training may run for a longer time than the stated time. If this is the case, you can apply for an extension to your H-3 visa, provided your passport is still valid.

An extension can only happen if you have some time left on your visa, and this extension will be equivalent to two years. Your family may also benefit from this extension for a period of up to 18 months. For an extension to be done, you will need to file Form 1-129 as you did on the first petition, but you will need to include the following when applying for an extension:

  • A detailed letter from your trainers, that explains why the training is incomplete.
  • Copies of Form 1-539 and form 1-94.
  • Your visitors will have to file Form 1-539.

Rejection of H-3 Visa

Due to the H-3 Visa holders’ limitation in a given fiscal year, many denied petitions by the USCIS. Several reasons could lead to the rejection of your H-3 visa; these reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • If you do not meet the cap limit
  • The sponsoring institution fails to submit a petition on time.
  • When you have received a similar training program,
  • If you intend to find work in the United States after the completion of the training,
  • When the training institution is not well equipped to run the training program.

Contact an Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer near Me

When you want to pursue training that you know will benefit your community and your career, you will need to apply for an H-3 training program on time. With the limited number of available slots in each fiscal year, time is of the essence when it comes to your visa application process.

Sometimes the process may involve a lot of bureaucracy and be very arduous, especially if you do not understand it. To avoid any hiccup that may crop up during the application process and probably lead to your visa rejection, hire an experienced attorney.

At California Immigration Attorney, we have many years of experience in the field of immigration law. Our attorneys have experience in handling the special training visa application process. They will help you fill out your visa application forms and ensure that you keep all your deadlines. Contact us at 424-789-8809 and schedule a consultation.