NonImmigrant Visa for Trainees

By Reuben Seguritan


There are several categories under which a foreigner may enter the US as a trainee and then return to his home country after the training is completed. These are B-1 (temporary business visitor); F-1 (student visa), H-3 (nonimmigrant trainee J-1 (exchange visitor), M (vocational student visa) and Q (cultural exchange visitor).


Certain factors will determine which of the different visas for foreigner-trainees should be applied for and obtained. These factors are: the purpose of the training; the length of time for training; whether or not the foreigner will be paid; who will pay the salary; the relationship of the petitioner to the foreigner; the required education of the foreigner in order to participate in the training program; and the work experience required of the foreigner to participate in the training program.


The H-3 is the most common nonimmigrant visa for trainees. Under this visa, the trainee receives training in the US from the petitioner in any field of endeavor, other than graduate medical education or training, that is not available in the home country of the foreigner. If the H-3 nonimmigrant trainee visa is approved, it is valid for up to 2 years.


For the H-3 nonimmigrant trainee application, a training plan must be submitted by the petitioner in order for the foreigner to enter the US and receive the training. The training plan must include the following information: the petitioner must specify and explain the program objective; why the petitioner seeks to train this particular foreigner; the duration of the training program; the salary or any remuneration offered; the timeline and description of the training on a weekly basis; identity of the person who will supervise, evaluate and train the trainee; and the standards for the evaluation of the trainee.


The petitioner should also describe where the training will take place and the facilities therein; whether the instruction or training will in whole or in part be in a classroom format; the skills and knowledge the trainee will obtain through the program; if the trainee will have any productive employment, this should only be incidental to the training; explanation of how the trainee will use the knowledge and skills gained to further his career outside the US upon completion of the program; and description of the type of training and supervision to be given, and the structure of the training program.


It is also important to include the following: specify the time that will be devoted by the trainee to productive employment; how many hours will be spent, respectively, in classroom instruction and in on-the-job training; description of the work and career abroad that the training will prepare the foreigner for; reasons why such training cannot be obtained in the home country of the foreigner and why it is necessary for the foreigner to be trained in the US; the source of any remuneration received by the trainee and any benefit that will accrue to the petitioner for providing the training.


The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has rejected H-3 applications in the past on the following grounds: training plan did not state the fixed schedule of the foreigner, the objectives and means of evaluation of the foreigner; the training is incompatible with the nature of the petitioner’s business or enterprise; and the trainee being petitioned already possesses substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training.


The application will also be denied if: the training, knowledge or skill received in the US will unlikely be used outside the US; the training received will result in productive employment which is beyond that is incidental and necessary to the training; the trainee will be trained for staffing or work in the US permanently and not his home country; the petitioner does not have the facilities or skilled workers to provide the training specified; and the training is designed to extend the total allowable period of training previously authorized by the USCIS.