Trainees have a couple visa options available to them to allow for temporary stays within the United States:

  • H-3 Nonimmmigrant Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor:

The H-3 nonimmigrant visa category is for an alien coming to the United States either as a (1) trainee to receive training, other than graduate or medical education training, that is not available in the alien's home country, or (2) special education exchange visitor to participate in special education exchange visitor training program for children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. An H-3 trainee must be invited by an individual or organization for the purpose of receiving training, other than graduate or medical education training, in any field, including but not limited to commerce, communications, finance, government, transportation, agriculture, or the professions. This classification is not intended for employment within the United States. It is designed to provide an alien with job related training for work that will ultimately be performed in the alien's home country. If the petition is approved, the alien is permitted to remain in the United States for up to 2 years, or 18 months if approved for training in special education. Dependents of the H-3 visa holders may accompany the visa holders to the United States, but they will not be permitted to work during their stay here.

  • J-1 Nonimmigrant Trainee Visa for Exchange Visitors:

The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.

In carrying out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. J-1 nonimmigrants are therefore sponsored by an exchange program that is designated as such by the U.S. Department of State. These programs are designed to promote the interchange or persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science. Examples of exchange visitors include, but are not limited to: Professors or scholars, Research assistants, Students, Trainees, Teachers, Specialists, Nannies/Au pairs and Camp counselors.

When you enter the U.S. on an exchange visitor visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your program. The final decision on how long you may stay in the U.S. is made by the USCIS inspector at the port of entry/airport. Dependents of J-1 visa holders may apply for J-2 status if eligible.

The optimal visa option in your case may vary depending on your particular circumstances and situation. To determine the best course of action in your individual case, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation.