In general, the H visa is a kind of temporary work permit for professionals and non-professionals. However, the H3 visa creates an educational opportunity for some people to strengthen their job position in their home country. 

In the following, we will discuss the essential aspects of this visa, the definition of educational programs, and accredited educational institutions.

What is the H3 visa?

This visa is dedicated to foreign nationals who intend to travel to the United States to take a training course. With this visa, a person can enter the country legally and choose the desired training course at the educational institution where he/she has been accepted. The primary condition for this visa is obtaining admission for the training course, which does not exist in the applicant’s country. There is a numerical limit on the annual issuance of this visa. Of all the applicants, only 50 people can enter the US under the H3 permission.

This training course cannot be a full academic course or a medical training course but must be in a way that teaches some advanced skills to the applicant. The applicants must show that they return to their home country after acquiring the skills and implementing what they have learned there. The training program should be such that it strengthens the individuals in their field.

What are the H3 visa requirements?

There are two types of programs that are eligible for this visa:

  • Training programs that are part of the academic disciplines, except for medical fields. Examples of these training programs include:
    • finance,
    • transportation,
    • agriculture,
    • communication,
    • business,
    • government.
  • Special education that is provided for children with special needs in terms of physical, mental, and emotional (This special education is a combination of theoretical and practical programs.)

The visa holders are not allowed to work in the United States. The applicants can only participate in the practical work that is part of their curriculum. In order for someone to work in the United States, they need visas such as H1B, H2A, and H2B.

Eligible H3 visa applicants must meet the following conditions:

  • The educational institution must issue an official invitation to the applicants.
  • The applicants cannot find the desired educational program in their country. Also, educational programs do not include medical disciplines.
  • After completing the training program, the applicants must return to their home country. The training program will also help to strengthen the applicant’s career.
  • Apart from practical programs that are part of the training course, the applicant will not be allowed to have a full-time job in the US.

The invitation issued to the applicant for the H3 visa must be as follows:

  • Curriculum and program structure must be provided.
  • Items such as the time of the lectures and the number of hours of practical work should be specified.
  • The benefits of providing that specific type of training should be explained.
  • The types of professions that can benefit from this training program should be provided.
  • The benefits that the applicant obtains via passing this course must be provided.
  • It should be shown why this training course is not offered in the applicant’s country.

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H3 visa sponsors

The first step in the H3 visa application process is to find a sponsor. The applicant can not apply on his/her own, and the sponsor begins the application process. The sponsor can be an educational institution that received his/her application.

The institution submits the request to the USCIS and provides the necessary requirements.

The applicant can only work for the employer that has submitted the petition to the USCIS.

The sponsor needs to provide the following requirements:

  • Details and description of the training program which the applicant wants to take in the US.
  • The background of the applicant’s training and experience.
  • A commitment that the applicant is not willing to take eventual employment in the US.
  • The reasons why applicants cannot take the training in his/her home country.
  • How the training will influence or help the applicant in his/her home country.
  • How the costs of employment will be paid

The sponsor also needs to prove that the applicant will be employed in the specific field of training. Moreover, the applicant can not gain benefits by having a career outside the U.S.

How to apply for a US H3 visa?

The invitation described above must be sent to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as part of the application process.

As with other H-type visas, the applicant first needs a sponsor to begin the visa application process. In the first step, the applicant must find the training program that he wants. Then the educational institution that has accepted the applicant begins the visa application process. The institution must forward a request to USCIS along with the information about the intended program and also provide additional documentation such as:

  •  The staff of the institution
  • Applicant details such as education, degree, previous training, and related work experiences
  • Whether the applicant benefits financially by taking this program
  • If it is a particular educational institution, it should also prove that they provide such services or training

Besides, the institution should submit Form I-129 to USCIS (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker). The fee for the petition is $460. The appeal must be submitted to USCIS more than six months before the start of the training program. This period allows the processing of the filed documents. Therefore, if the request is sent later, USCIS cannot guarantee that the application will be processed in a timely manner. After the USCIS evaluates the submitted documents and Form I-129, the decision is made and notified to the educational institution. If the request is approved, Form I-797 will be sent to the institution. At this step, the applicant can initiate the visa application process. The H3 visa application must be performed through the embassy of the country where the applicant lives.

The applicant must submit the following documents:

  • Form DS-160 online
  •  Form I-129 and Form I-797
  • Birth certificate
  • A valid passport
  • A photo
  • Evidence that the applicant does not intend to remain in the United States, such as a property deed or future job contract

The H3 visa cost is $190, which must be paid by the applicant.

Participating in an interview is an essential part of the pre-visa process. In this interview, it is assessed whether the applicant is appropriate for the training program and whether he/she has provided the necessary qualifications. The applicant’s document and the interview help the US embassy to decide whether the applicant is eligible for this visa or not. If the embassy approves the issuance of the visa, the applicant must apply for visa stamping.

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How long does it take to evaluate the provided documents and issue this visa?

The H3 visa processing time is different. Necessary documents must be sent to USCIS at least six months before the start of the training program. It takes nearly 4 to 6 weeks for USCIS to process the request. After this period, the applicant must collect and submit the necessary documents. Depending on the workload of the embassy where you are applying, it may take 1 to 3 months to make a final decision.

How long can the visa holder stay in the US?

The visa holders can stay in the United States until the end of their training program. This date is stated in the I-797 Form. In general, visas issued to participate in training programs are valid for up to two years. After this period, the applicant must return to his/her home country. The H3 visa validity is up to 18 months for those who intend to participate in special education programs.

Unlike other types of H visas, this visa cannot be extended. In other words, once this visa expires, the holder cannot renew his stay in the US. Also, they cannot apply for a Green Card.

But the visa holder can change their visa type. If they can find a job when they participate in the training program, they can change the H3 visa to H1B, H2A, or H2B visa. In this case, the new employer can apply to the USCIS to change the visa status.

What are the reasons for rejecting the visa application?

Since there is a numerical restriction on the annual issuance of this visa, many petitions are rejected by USCIS. Some of the most prevalent reasons for the rejection of the application are:

  • The cap has already been completed, and there is no more space for new applications.
  • The educational institution did not send the request on time.
  • The applicant has already received similar training
  • If the applicant will be employed in the US
  • If the institution does not have enough capacity to train the applicant

So the H3 visa rejection rate is significantly high.

Can the visa holder bring family members to the US?

The visa holder’s spouse and child under the age of 21 can come to the United States under an H4 visa. H4 visa holders can enroll in academic courses but cannot work in the United States.

H3 visa processing time

The processing time for a US H3 visa is up to various factors. The processing time for the H-3 petition is about 4-6 weeks, and the applicants need to wait for about three months, so the visa gets processed by the USCIS.

Can you convert your H3 visa to a green card?

People ask whether they can apply for a green card when they are in the US under an H3 visa. One of the conditions of an H3 visa is that the holders can not extend it and stay longer in the US. Also, they can not apply for a green card under an H3 visa either.

If you are looking for a visa that provides you the opportunity to live permanently in the US, you would better find another one.

What is a US H3 training visa?

The H3 visa often gets called an H3 training visa, but they are the same. The reason is that under an H3 visa, you can only receive applications through an institution or education center that provides training courses and non-academic majors or fields.

The applicant is not permitted to take an academic or medical training course in the country. The course must teach applicants a skill at an advanced level that is not available in his/her country.

Let’s sum up …

This article provided an overview of the US H3 visa. In this article, we reviewed the essential aspects of a US work visa. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.


Can I take an academic course under the H3 visa?

No, you may not take a full-time academic course. 

Is there an annual limit on an H3 visa?

Yes, only 50 people can enter the US through an H3 visa. 

Who is the sponsor for the H3 visa?

An educational institution is a sponsor, and you can find it on your own.

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1 Comment

  1. Maria says:

    I didn’t know I can’t work holding an h3 visa. I think I should look for another visa to make ends meet. Thx for your blog.