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  • Zachary Johnson, Ph.D.

An Overview of H-3 Visa Requirements

Rebecca Rivera, Account Coordinator

Zachary Johnson, PhD., Founding Partner

Emily Fischer, Account Coordinator

Abstract: Describes H-3 visa requirements and ProfVal's role in the H-3 process. Includes insights from H-3 Expert, Alice Burgos – Founding Attorney at Burgos Law. This paper is part of ProfVal's H-3 research series. ProfVal is the best provider of H-3 Expert Opinion Letters.

What are H-3 Trainee visa requirements?

In order to apply for an H-3 visa, a trainee must be invited by an individual or organization in the U.S. for the explicit purpose of receiving training. It is then up to the U.S. employer or organization to prove that their training program meets H-3 requirements for the international trainee, submitting the appropriate documentation along with Form I-129 to the USCIS.[1] In order for this petition to be approved and avoid an RFE or denial, an organization must address the following requirements noted in this article. Often, an H-3 Expert Opinion Letter from ProfVal will be part of the visa petition process.

Detailed description of the training program

Per USCIS requirements, H-3 Trainee petitions must include a statement that clearly describes the type of training and supervision to be given, along with the structure of the training program. This description must include the number of hours that will be spent, respectively, in classroom instruction and in on-the-job training.

A training program may not be approved if it deals in generalities with no fixed schedule, objectives or means of evaluation, and may also not be approved if it does not establish that the petitioner has the physical plant and sufficiently trained manpower to provide the training specified. Therefore, in order for an H-3 petition to be approved, it must include a clearly defined program schedule with explicit learning outcomes / goals, a statement on the facilities / professionals providing training and explicit means for evaluating a trainee’s progress in the program.[2]

Explanation of remuneration / organizational benefit

With an H-3 Trainee visa, it is expected that the beneficiary is coming to the United States for the express purpose of engaging in temporary training which will benefit their pursuit of a career in their home country. A petition may not be approved if it results in productive employment beyond that which is incidental and necessary to the training, or if it is designed to recruit and train noncitizens for the ultimate staffing of domestic operations in the United States.

In order to prevent a denial for these reasons, an H-3 petition must clearly define any remuneration received by the trainee during the program (including compensation for basic necessities) and any benefit which will accrue to the employer / organization for providing the training. If the trainee will receive compensation, it must be made clear that the compensation is not intended to be salary for regular employment.[3] Additionally, the petition must include a statement where the employer / organization makes it clear that they have no plan to retain international trainees such as the beneficiary as employees in the United States.[2]

Reasoning for why training cannot be obtained in the beneficiary’s home country

The largest caveat of the H-3 Trainee visa is that it must prove that the international trainee cannot receive similar training in their home country, thus proving how the U.S. program is diverse and distinct from others. This can be done in a number of ways, by looking at several factors including: academic / training opportunities that aren’t available in the beneficiary’s home country but are in the U.S., specific systems / technologies, infrastructure / resources available and access to professionals with experience in specialty areas.

An H-3 petition may not be approved if it cannot demonstrate how certain training is unavailable in the beneficiary’s home country, or if the training is in a field in which it is unlikely that the knowledge or skill will be used outside the United States. Additionally, an H-3 petition may not be approved if it is on behalf of a beneficiary who already possesses substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training. A successful H-3 Trainee petition, therefore, must clearly demonstrate the reasons why such training is unavailable in the beneficiary’s home country, how the training will improve their knowledge / skills and benefit their pursuit of a career abroad and why it is necessary for the beneficiary to be trained in the United States.[4]

In collaboration with your attorney, an H-3 Expert Opinion Letter can represent a key element of evidence that explains the differences in training programs between a beneficiary's home country and a program within the United States.

What are the general steps for getting an H-3?

Before you do anything else, we again recommend working with a qualified immigration attorney. The immigration process can change and there are many sub-steps to the process. No one on the team is an immigration attorney and we do not (nor will we ever) provide legal assistance, but we can refer you to an attorney. It’s important to plan in advance because this process can take a few months to complete. Once you have legal representation, your process should include these steps along with various sub-steps:

  • Find an organization / institution with an appropriate U.S. training program that is related to your desired career field and apply to be admitted. Or, if you’re interested in a particular organization / institution, reach out to them to discuss the possibility of creating an H-3 training program at their organization / institution for international trainees.

  • If admitted, the organization / institution where the training program is being held should vet you to make sure that you qualify for their H-3 training program before initiating the H-3 visa process.

  • If approved after the vetting process has been completed, the organization / institution will typically work with an immigration attorney to submit the appropriate supporting documentation, along with Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, to the USCIS.

  • If the petition is approved, USCIS will send a Form I-797 H-3 Approval Notice to the organization / institution.

  • If you are consular processing, the next steps would entail the completion of the visa application process at the U.S. consulate. [5]


“H-3s are not commonly used visas and immigration officers are often not familiar with this visa type. Therefore, H-3 visas are highly scrutinized by immigration and require strategic lawyering to be successful. A Request for Evidence (“RFE”) being issued for an H-3 application is more likely than not to occur even if the most skilled professional prepares the application. However, hiring a lawyer that understands the ‘secret sauce’ to prepare H-3 applications and respond to H-3 RFEs is the difference between a denial and an approval.” ~ Alice Burgos – Founding Attorney at Burgos Law


What is ProfVal's Role?

ProfVal’s role is to provide an external, unbiased evaluation of U.S. training programs to demonstrate that: i) a training program meets H-3 requirements and ii) that the trainee does not have this training available in their home country, or to distinguish the differences between the U.S. training program from any similar training that may be available within the trainee’s home country. To do this, ProfVal, LLC provides Expert Opinion Letters. Expert Opinion Letters (EOLs) ( can be used to aid in an initial H-3 application, as well as in a response to a Request for Evidence (RFE).

An H-3 Expert Opinion Letter from ProfVal helps you to provide the requested evidence by working with a disciplined expert to examine and describe the structure and purpose of a given training program, then to indicate the reasons why such training cannot be obtained in the trainee’s home country and why it is necessary for them to be trained in the United States. ProfVal’s EOLs provide value to a visa application, as they enable the USCIS agent to have an honest, third-party appraisal of the organization / institution’s training program, explained in simple terms, to help them more easily understand how a training program meets H-3 requirements. Additionally, the USCIS agent will understand that the expert providing the letter is honest in their analysis and recommendation, as our experts are paid irrespective of whether they can give a positive appraisal or not. Thus, ProfVal adds transparency to the immigration process, which helps organizations to provide training to foreign trainees while aiding these trainees in expanding their career knowledge and skills through training programs in the U.S.


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