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USCIS Clarifies Policy on Location of H-3 Training

by Milena Sarukhanyan on May 8, 2024, 3:50 p.m.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plays a crucial role in administering the rules and regulations that govern immigration and nonimmigrant visas, including the H-3 visa for trainees. Recently, USCIS has issued clarifications regarding the policy on the location of H-3 training activities, a move that impacts employers and immigrants alike. This article dives into the details of these clarifications and highlights some interesting facts that are important for both potential trainees and their sponsors.

Key Aspects of the USCIS Policy Clarification:

1. **Purpose of the H-3 Visa:**
- The H-3 nonimmigrant visa category is designed for individuals who are invited to the U.S. to receive training in any field, except graduate medical education or training, that is not available in the trainee's home country. The visa aims to allow the beneficiary to undertake training and then apply the skills learned in their country of residence.

2. **Clarification on Training Location:**
- The recent policy update by USCIS specifies that the training program must occur in the U.S. at a location approved by USCIS. This update clarifies that training cannot just happen at any subsidiary of the sponsoring organization unless each location is explicitly authorized under the original visa petition.

3. **Training Plan Requirements:**
- Employers must submit a detailed training plan with the H-3 visa petition. This plan should outline the type of training the beneficiary will receive, list specific training objectives, and detail how the training will be conducted. The plan must also specify where the training will take place, aligning with the recent clarifications.

4. **Duration and Limits of Training:**
- The H-3 visa is generally approved for the length of the training program, which cannot exceed two years. Importantly, trainees cannot fill positions that are in the normal operation of the business and that U.S. workers regularly occupy.

5. **Impact on Trainees and Employers:**
- The clarified location policy means that employers must be more diligent in planning and documenting training programs. It also means that trainees have a clearer understanding of where their training will take place and under what conditions.

6. **Legal Implications of Non-Compliance:**
- Failure to adhere to the specified training locations can lead to visa revocations and penalties for the sponsoring organization. For trainees, non-compliance might affect their immigration status or future applications for U.S. visas.

Interesting Facts About H-3 Visa Training Programs:

- **Economic Contributions:** Trainees often bring specialized knowledge back to their home countries, contributing to global economic interconnectivity and the spread of skills.

- **Cultural Exchange:** The H-3 visa program facilitates cultural exchange, as trainees learn not only specific professional skills but also American cultural practices, which they can share in their home countries.

- **Influence on Global Practices:** Many trainees in sectors like technology and healthcare introduce advanced practices and technologies to their home countries, influencing local standards and practices.

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