Chapter 7 – Admissions, Extensions of Stay, and Change of Status
H-3 trainees and externs should be admitted for the length of the training program, but for no longer than 2 years.  See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(9)(iii)(C)(1). H-3 visa special education exchange visitors should be admitted for the length of the training program, but for no longer than 18 months.
H-3 trainees and special education exchange visitors who respectively, have spent 2 years or 18 months in the United States, in either H-visa or L-visa classifications may not seek extension of, change of status to, or be readmitted in, either H-visa or L-visa status unless they have resided outside the United States for the previous six months.  See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(13)(iv).
There are limited exceptions to this rule. For example, the limitation does not apply to an H-3 nonimmigrant whose H or L status was seasonal, intermittent, or lasted for an aggregate of 6 months or less per year.  See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(13)(v).
Additionally, time spent as an H-4 dependent does not count against the maximum allowable periods of stay available to principals in H-3 status (or vice-versa). Thus, a foreign national who was previously granted H-4 dependent status and subsequently is granted H-3 classification, or a foreign national who was previously granted H-3 classification and subsequently is granted H-4 dependent status, may be eligible to remain in the United States for the maximum period of stay applicable to the classification.
For example, a husband and wife who come to the United States as a principal H-3 and dependent H-4 spouse may maintain status for one year, and then change status to H-4 and H-3 respectively, as long as the change of status application is properly filed before the principal H-3 has spent the maximum allowable period of stay in the United States.  Maintenance of H-4 status continues to be tied to the principal’s maintenance of H status. Thus, H-4 dependentsmay only maintain such status as long as the principal maintains the relevant principal H status.
B. Extensions of Stay
H-3 trainees and externs can only extend their stay if their original stay was less than 2 years, and the total period of stay, together with the extension period, does not exceed 2 years. H-3 special education exchange visitors can extend their stay in the United States only if their total period of stay does not exceed 18 months.  See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(15)(ii)(D).
To file for an extension, the petitioner must file another Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) and H Classification Supplement to Form I-129, fully documented in the same manner as the first petition, and also include:
•A letter from the petitioner requesting an extension of status for the trainee, with an explanation of why the training has not yet been completed;
•A copy of the beneficiary’s Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94); and
•A copy of the beneficiary’s first Notice of Action (Form I-797).
If the H-3 beneficiary has a dependent (a spouse, or unmarried child under the age of 21) in the United States, those dependents will need to submit an Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539).
C. Change of Status
Certain categories of nonimmigrants are eligible to change status to that of an H-3 nonimmigrant, including certain students and other temporary visa holders.  Certain categories generally cannot change status if they are in the United States, including nonimmigrants who entered the United States with the following visas: C, Travel without a Visa, D, K-1 or K-2, J-1, or M-1. Other nonimmigrants, such as B-1 and B-2, may change status to H-3. Such change of status requests must establish that:
•The beneficiaries entered the United States legally;
•The beneficiaries have never worked in the United States illegally, or otherwise violated the terms of their visa; and
•The expiration date on the beneficiary’s I-94 has not passed.  See 8 CFR 248.1(b) for information on timely filing and maintenance of status, and circumstances when failure to file timely may be excused in the discretion of USCIS.
Maintenance of H-4 status continues to be tied to the principal’s maintenance of H status. Thus, H-4 dependents
may only maintain such status as long as the principal maintains the relevant principal H status.
Certain categories generally cannot change status if they are in the United States, including nonimmigrants who entered the United States with the following visas: C, Travel without a Visa, D, K-1 or K-2, J-1, or M-1. Other nonimmigrants, such as B-1 and B-2, may change status to H-3.
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.
- 8 CFR 214.2(h)(12) - Appeal of a denial or a revocation of a petition
- 8 CFR 214.2(h)(9)(iii)(C)- Validity of approved H-3 petitions and H-4 dependent(s)
- 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)(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 248.1(b) - Timely filing and maintenance of status