H-3 Nonimmigrant Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor


The H-3 category allows foreign nationals who are coming temporarily to the United States as either a Trainee or a Special Education Exchange Visitor. A trainee must receive training in any field or endeavor, other than graduate medical education or training that is not available in the foreign national’s home country. A special education exchange visitor must participate in a special education exchange visitor training program that provides for practical training and experience in the education of children with physical, mental or emotional disabilities.

To be classified as a H-3 trainee, one must be invited by an individual or organization for the purpose of receiving training, in any field, including: agriculture, commerce, communications, finance, government, transportation, other professionals. The purpose of this class is not for United States employment, but rather to provide a foreign national with job related training for work that they will ultimately perform in the United States.

The requirements needed to obtain classification through a H-3 Visa include demonstrating that:

  • 1) the proposed training is not available in the foreign national’s native country,
  • 2) the foreign national will not be placed in a position which is in the normal operation of the business and in which United States citizens and resident workers are regularly employed,
  • 3) the foreign national will not engage in productive employment unless such employment is incidental and necessary to the training, and
  • 4) the training will benefit the beneficiary in pursuing a career outside of the United States. Petitions for an H-3 trainee must include a statement that:
    • 1) describes the type of training and supervision to be given, and the structure of the training program,
    • 2) sets the proportion of time that will be devoted to productive employment,
    • 3) shows the number of hours that will be spent, respectively, in classroom instruction and in on the job training,
    • 4) describes the career abroad for which the training will prepare the foreign national,
    • 5) indicates the reasons why such training cannot be obtained in a foreign national’s country, and why it is necessary for the foreign national to be training in the United States, and
    • 6) indicates the source of any remuneration received by the trainee and any benefit which will accrue to the employer or organization for providing training.


Training programs that will not be approved are those which:

  • 1) deal in generalities with no fixed schedule, objectives, or means of evaluation,
  • 2) is incompatible with the nature of the petitioners business or enterprise,
  • 3) is on behalf of a foreign national who already possess substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training,
  • 4) is in a field in which it is unlikely that the knowledge or skill will be used outside of the United States,
  • 5) Will result in productive employment beyond that which is incidental and necessary to the training,
  • 6) is designed to recruit and train foreign nationals for the ultimate staffing of domestic operations in the United States,
  • 7) Does not establish that the petitioner has the physical plant and sufficiently trained manpower to provide the training specified, or
  • 8) is designed to extend the total allowable period of practical training previously authorized a nonimmigrant student.

H-3 special educational exchange visitors have a cap of no more than 50 which may be approved in a fiscal year. A petition which requests an H-3 special education exchange visitor must be filed by a faculty which has professionally trained staff and a structured program for providing education to children with disabilities, and for providing training and hands on experience to participants in the special education visitor exchange program. This petition should include a description of: the training the foreign national should receive, the facility’s professional staff, and the foreign national’s participation in the training program. Additionally, the petition is required to show that the education exchange visitor is: nearing the completion of a baccalaureate or higher degree program in special education or, has already earned a baccalaureate or higher degree in special education, or has extensive prior training and experience teaching children with physical, mental or emotional disabilities.

When applying for the classification, the trainee may be allowed to stay in the United States for up to 2 years. If the trainee petition is approved for a special education exchange visitor, the trainee may stay in the United States for as long as 18 months. Families and dependents of H-3 Visa holders are able to come to the United States, but are unable to work in the United States.


For more information regarding H-3 Visas, and the process of obtaining a H-3 Visa, please contact the Law Office of Jeffery Bennett via phone: 816-759-2776 (English), 816-759-2777 (Spanish); or via email: jyb@jybennettlaw.com