Chapter 6 - Adjudication

A. Adjudicative Issues

Officers must carefully review each petition for an H-3 trainee to ensure compliance with the intent of the H-3 category to train foreign nationals who will return to their home countries. Unless specifically provided otherwise, officers should apply a “preponderance of the evidence” standard when evaluating eligibility for the benefit sought. [1] The burden of proving eligibility for the benefit sought rests entirely with the petitioner. [2] 

B. Factors to Consider

1. Career Abroad

The description of the training program should include a specific explanation of the position and duties for which the training will prepare the trainee. [3] The trainee must demonstrate that the proposed training will prepare the beneficiary for an existing career outside the United States.

Trainings can be to prepare the trainee for something that is new and unavailable anywhere in the trainee’s country. For instance, a trainee may already be a professional in his or her own right and possess knowledge in the field of proposed training, but will be using the training to further his or her skills or career through company-specific training that a corporate organization makes available in the United States. This could include cases of mid-level and senior-level employees who possess knowledge in their field, but seek to further develop their skills in the proposed field of training. [4] As always, the totality of the evidence is evaluated for each case and all other requirements must be met. [5]

Example: A U.S. company develops a new product for which training is unavailable in another country. The U.S. company may petition to train people to use that product, which will enable the trainees to train others to use the new product in their home country.

2. Instruction

Classroom-based Instruction

In cases where the program is entirely classroom-based, officers should review the evidence to ensure that the petitioner establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the training cannot be made available in the beneficiary’s home country. [6]

If a petitioner claims that the classroom training portion of their proposed training programs will take place online, the petition must provide an explanation as to why the training cannot take place in the beneficiary’s own country. Officers should also investigate whether the online training would be provided by an academic or vocational institution. [7]

Online Instruction

In cases where the program is entirely online, officers must review each case and ensure that the petitioner has met their burden of proof (preponderance of the evidence) demonstrating that the training cannot be made available in the beneficiary’s home country. [8] 

3. Description of the Training Program

The petitioner must specify the type of training, the level of supervision, and the structure of the training program. [9] The petitioner should provide the officer with sufficient information to establish what the beneficiary will actually be doing, and should link the various tasks to specific skills that the beneficiary will gain by performing them.​

On-The-Job Training Hours

The petitioner must specify the number of hours both supervised and unsupervised. [10] The unsupervised work should be minimal and the supervised work should always be oriented toward training. 


There are limited circumstances where a proposed training program that consists largely or entirely of on-the-job training may be approved. Officers should carefully evaluate the totality of the evidence against a preponderance of the evidence standard, including whether a U.S. worker is being displaced and if the on-the-job training would allow the trainee to be placed into a position which is in the normal operation of the business and in which U.S. citizens and legal residents are regularly employed. [11] 

4. Remuneration

The petitioner must indicate the source of remuneration received by the trainee, and explain any training program benefits accrued by the petitioning company. [12] Remuneration may come from any source, domestic or international. When assessing remuneration, the officer may consider whether the salary is in proportion to the training position. [13] 

5. Placement into Normal Operation of Business [14]

Officers should consider whether the beneficiary will be placed in a position which is in the normal operations of the business, and U.S. citizens and residents are regularly employed. Factors to consider include:

  • Whether training that familiarizes the beneficiary with the individual operations of the petitioning company is similar to the training that would be expected of any new employee,

  • Indications that the beneficiary may remain in the United States working with the petitioner, and 

  • Training where the foreign national is trained alongside U.S. workers. [15]

6. Practical Training

Petitioners frequently assert that beneficiaries will spend a certain amount of time in “practical training.” This assertion needs to be supported with a clear explanation of the type and degree of supervision that the beneficiary will receive during such periods. [16] If the officer determines that the “practical training” would actually be productive employment, then the petitioner must establish that it would be incidental to and necessary to the training. [17]

7. Productive Employment

The proportion of time that will be devoted to productive employment must be specified. [18] Productive employment should be minimal because the beneficiary should be training and not performing productive work that displaces U.S. citizens or legal residents. [19] A training program which devotes a significant percentage of time to productive employment should be closely scrutinized. [20]

8. Substantial Training and Expertise in Field of Training

In order to establish that the beneficiary does not already possess substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training, [21] the petitioner should submit as much information regarding the beneficiary’s credentials as possible. If related to the proposed H-3 training program, copies of the beneficiary’s diplomas and transcripts should be submitted, including any training and education received in the United States, copies of any relevant forms (for example, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students (Form I-20), Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status(Form DS-2019)). If possible, letters from prior employers detailing the beneficiary’s work experience should also be submitted. 

9. Sufficiently Trained Staff

In order to establish that it has sufficiently trained staff to provide the training specified in the petition, [22] the petitioner should provide the names and credentials of the persons who will provide the training. The petitioner should specify the amount of time each trainer will spend training the beneficiary. The petitioner should also explain how the trainers’ normal responsibilities will be performed while they are training the beneficiary (this is especially important in cases involving relatively small entities, as larger percentages of their workforces will presumably be diverted in order to provide the training). [23]

10. Unavailability of the Training in Beneficiary’s Country

The petitioner must establish that the trainee cannot obtain the training in his or her country and demonstrate why it is necessary for the trainee to be trained in the United States. [24]

C. Approvals

If all documentary requirements have been met and the petition appears approvable, officers should endorse the action block on the petition. The approval period should coincide with the period of training requested by the petitioner, but only up to 2 years for trainees and up to 18 months for special education training program participants. [25]

When approving a special education training program participant, officers need to enter H-3B in CLAIMS and annotate H-3B on the petition. Because of the numerical limitations applicable to the H-3 Special Education Exchange Visitor category, officers must contact the USCIS Service Center Operations office to obtain authorization before approving an H-3 Special Education Exchange Visitor petition. The number assigned should be recorded on the front of the petition in the "Remarks" section. The approved petition should also be annotated "Approved Pursuant to Sec. 223 of Pub. L. 101-649.” 

D. Denials

If documentary requirements have not been met and the petition is not approvable, officers should prepare and issue a notice of denial and advise the petitioner of the right of appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office. 

E. Transmittal of Petitions

USCIS sends all approved petitions to the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC). The KCC scans and uploads the documentation into the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). [26] Consular officers and Customs and Border Protection officers have access to the CCD to verify and review documents. 


1. [^] See U.S. v. Cardozo-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421 (1987) (defining “more likely than not” as a greater than 50 percent probability of something occurring). See Matter of Chawathe, 25 I&N Dec. 369, 376 (AAO 2010) (citing Matter of E-M, 20 I&N Dec. 77, 79-80 (Comm. 1989)).

2. [^] See Matter of Brantigan, 11 I&N Dec. 493 (BIA 1966).

3. [^] Generalized assertions that the proposed training will expand the trainee’s skill set or make him or her more desirable to prospective employers are usually not sufficient to demonstrate the proposed training will prepare the beneficiary for an existing career abroad. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(iii).

4. [^] Even if a new employee or current employee possesses knowledge in the proposed field of training, he or she could be considered a trainee if the company or organization decides he or she needs the training, so long as all other requirements are met (for example, so long as beneficiary does not possess substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training). 

5. [^] Although 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(iii)(C) states that a training program may not be approved if it is on behalf of a beneficiary who already possesses substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training, this provision does not automatically prohibit professionals from participating in a training program. It remains the petitioner’s burden to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the training program is approvable.

6. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(A)(1).

7. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(1)(ii)(E)(1).

8. [^] If the petitioner does not meet the burden of demonstrating that the online training cannot be made available in the beneficiary’s home country, officers may consider issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE). 

9. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)(1). See Matter of Miyazaki Travel Agency, Inc., 10 I&N Dec. 644 (Reg. Comm. 1964) (denying petition for a trainee where the training program was deemed “unrealistic”). See Matter of Masauyama, 11 I&N Dec. 157 (Reg. Comm. 1965) (noting that the statute contemplates the training of an person rather than giving him further experience by day-to-day application of his skills). 

10. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)(3). See Matter of Frigon, 18 I&N Dec. 164, 166 (court noting that the number of hours devoted to on-the-job training without supervision is one of the factors to be considered). 

11. [^] See Matter of St. Pierre, 18 I&N Dec. 308 (Reg. Comm. 1982) (holding that even though training will consist primarily of on-the-job training, the subject matter by its very nature can only be learned in that setting and since the beneficiary will not receive any payment from the petitioner, and will merely be observing field tests and not actively conducting them, he will not be engaging in productive employment which would displace a resident worker). 

12. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)(6). See Matter of International Transportation Company, 12 I&N Dec. 389 (Reg. Comm. 1967) (even though training will be 75% on-the-job training, any “productive gain” received by the company from such work will be “offset by the time spent by employees in the training of the beneficiary”). 

13. [^] See Matter of Kraus Periodicals, Inc., 11 I&N Dec. 63 (Reg. Comm. 1964) (H-3 petition was denied where the petitioner failed to set forth a training program, the specific position, duties, or skills in which the beneficiary is to be trained, and where the substantial salary the beneficiary would have received suggested that the training position was productive employment which may displace a U.S. citizen). See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)(6).

14. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(A)(3) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(iii)(F).

15. [^] See Matter of Glencoe Press, 11 I&N Dec. 764, 766 (Reg. Comm. 1966). 

16. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)(1) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)(2)

17. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(A)(3) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(iii)(E).

18. [^] If the job description and the proffered wage seem suspect, the officer may request more specific information from the petitioner as described in 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)

19. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)(2) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(iii)(E).

20. [^] The regulations prohibit the approval of a petition involving a training program that will result in productive employment beyond that which is incidental and necessary to the training. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(iii)(E). Further, a significant percentage of time devoted to productive employment indicates that the beneficiary may be placed in a position which is in the normal operation of the business and in which U.S. workers are regularly employed. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(A)(3)8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(iii)(E), and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(F). See Matter of Miyazaki Travel Agency, Inc., 11 I&N Dec. 424, 425 (Reg. Comm. 1964) (“An industrial trainee shall not be permitted to engage in productive employment if such employment will displace a United States resident”). See Matter of Sasano, 11 I&N Dec. 363, 364 (Reg. Comm. 1965) (“[I]t is concluded [that] the beneficiary would be involved in full-time productive employment and that any training received would be incidental thereto”). See Matter of St. Pierre, 18 I&N Dec. 308, 310 (Reg. Comm. 1982) (“The petitioner has established that the beneficiary will not be engaged in productive employment that might displace a resident worker”). 

21. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(iii)(C). See Matter of Masauyama, 11 I&N Dec. 157, 158 (Reg. Comm. 1965) (“It is conceded that practical day-to-day experience will increase proficiency in any line of endeavor. However, the statute involved here is one that contemplates the training of a person rather than giving him further experience by day-to-day application of his skills”). See Matter of Koyama, 11 I&N Dec. 424, 425 (Reg. Comm. 1965) (“While it is conceded that practical experience will increase a person’s efficiency in any line of endeavor, the intent of the statute involved here is to train rather than to gain experience”). 

22. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(iii)(G).

23. [^] There are, of course, situations where allocation of a significant percentage of the company’s resources to train a single person would be reasonable and credible. As noted above, the regulation at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)(6) requires the petitioner to describe “any benefit that will accrue to [it] for providing the training.” 

24. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(7)(ii)(B)(5). See Matter of Treasure Craft of California, 14 I&N Dec. 190 (Reg. Comm. 1972) (rejecting petitioner’s argument that he only needs to go on record as stating that training is not available outside the United States). 

25. [^] See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(9)(iii)(C) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(13)(v).

26. [^] See 9 FAM 402.10-9(A), Evidence Forming Basis for H Visa Issuance.

8 CFR 214.2(h)(1) - Temporary employees

8 CFR 214.2(h)(1)(ii)(E) - H-3 definition

8 CFR 214.2(h)(10) - Denial of petitions

8 CFR 214.2(h)(11) - Revocation of an approved H petition

8 CFR 214.2(h)(12) - Appeal of a denial or a revocation of a petition

8 CFR 214.2(h)(13) - Admission of H beneficiaries

8 CFR 214.2(h)(14) - Extension of H visa petition validity

8 CFR 214.2(h)(15)(ii)(D) - Extension of H-3 stay 

8 CFR 214.2(h)(16)(ii) - Effect of approval of a permanent labor certification or filing of a preference petition on H classification

8 CFR 214.2(h)(17) - Effect of a strike

8 CFR 214.2(h)(7) - H-3 regulations

8 CFR 214.2(h)(8)(i)(D) - H-3 numerical limitations on special education exchange visitors

8 CFR 214.2(h)(9) - Petitions for temporary workers

8 CFR 214.2(h)(9)(iii)(C) - Validity of approved H-3 petitions and H-4 dependent(s)

INA 101(a)(15)(H)(iii) - Definition of H-3


No appendices available at this time.

POLICY ALERT - Nonimmigrant Trainees (H-3)

September 09, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance on the trainees (H-3) nonimmigrant visa category.  


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