H-3 Visa Frequently Asked Questions

What is the H-3 visa, and who is eligible for it?

The H-3 visa is a non-immigrant visa category in the United States that is designed for individuals who wish to come to the U.S. to receive training or instruction that is not readily available in their home country. The H-3 visa is not intended for traditional employment, but rather for individuals who seek to acquire new skills or knowledge. There are two main types of H-3 visas:

H-3 Trainee Visa: This type of H-3 visa is for individuals who want to come to the U.S. to receive training in any field, including but not limited to agriculture, commerce, communications, finance, government, transportation, and more. The training program should be provided by a U.S. company or organization and must be designed to benefit the trainee in pursuing a career outside the United States.

H-3 Special Education Exchange Visitor Visa: This category is specifically for foreign nationals who wish to come to the U.S. to participate in a special education exchange program. The program is typically designed for individuals looking to work with disabled or exceptional students.

Eligibility criteria include having a job offer for a training program that is not available in the applicant’s home country and is not intended to provide productive employment. The training program should not be used as a method for the trainee to work in the U.S. in a job that would typically require an H-1B visa.

It’s important to note that H-3 visas are temporary and time-limited, and the training must be for a specific period. The H-3 visa holder is expected to return to their home country after completing the training. It is not a pathway to U.S. permanent residency or citizenship.

How does the H-3 visa application process work?

The application process typically involves these steps:

The U.S. employer files a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), requesting approval for the H-3 visa program.

If USCIS approves the petition, the foreign national applies for the H-3 visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

How long can an H-3 visa holder stay in the U.S.?

If the petition is approved, the trainee may be allowed to remain in the United States for up to 2 years. If the trainee petition is approved for a special education exchange visitor, the trainee may remain in the United States for up to 18 months.

Can H-3 visa holders bring their family members with them to the U.S.?

Trainees’ spouses and children who are under the age of 21 may accompany them to the United States as H-4 nonimmigrants. However, H-4 nonimmigrants are not permitted to work in the United States.

Can H-3 visa holders change employers in the U.S.?

The visa holder can work only for the employer that admitted him or her to the training program and acted as petitioner/sponsor for the H-3 visa. However, H-3 visa holders can change employers in the U.S., but there are specific procedures that must be followed to do so, and it’s important to ensure that the change complies with U.S. immigration regulations. Consult with your immigration attorney for guidance.

Can H-3 visa holders apply for U.S. permanent residency (a green card)?

H-3 visa holders can apply for U.S. permanent residency (a green card) in some circumstances, but the H-3 visa itself does not directly lead to permanent residency. The process to obtain a green card typically requires a separate application and eligibility under one of the immigrant visa categories. Consult with an immigration attorney for guidance.

Can H-3 visa holders apply for other non-immigrant visas while in the U.S.?

If the H-3 visa holder remains in the U.S. for the maximum period of time, he or she may not seek a change of status, extension, or readmission to the U.S. in H or L status until he or she has resided outside of the U.S. for a period of six months.

Can H-3 visa holders apply for U.S. citizenship (naturalization)?

H-3 visa holders are typically in the United States for the sole purpose of receiving training that is not available in their home country. The H-3 visa is a temporary visa and does not lead to permanent residency (a green card) on its own. To apply for U.S. citizenship (naturalization), you generally need to be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and meet other eligibility requirements.
Ross Gregory
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Tony Montana
Tony Montana
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Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.


  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010