Foreign Employers May Want To Consider The B-1 Visa Over The H-3
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Traditionally foreign employers who wanted to send an employee to the United States for training have opted for the H-3 Trainee visa as the means to get their worker admitted into the country. However there is another visa, the B-1 business visitor that might be a better option depending on a number of factors. Both of these visas have basically the same purpose and many of the same qualifying conditions, however there are enough differences that the B-1 should be considered as an option particularly if you need quick visa approval and your worker will not be taking dependents on the trip. The H-3 is designed to allow a foreign company to send their employees to the States for training that is not available in their country of origin. These can be seminars that are only conducted in the US, or orientation and familiarization for a business process that is only provided in the U.S. facility of the foreign company or any other form of training that can not be obtained in the country of origin. A B-1 business visa is principally designed to allow foreign employees to attend business meetings and seminars in the United States. However its purpose is close enough to that of a H-3 that short training programs can qualify for the B-1. The only exception to the training qualifications is that employees may not do graduate work or medical training.
Qualifications for Trainee Visas
There are a number of conditions to qualifying for either visa. Here's a short list.
- The employee can not hold a "training" position that is a normal part of the organization's structure. So for example if a VP of sales leaves the parent foreign company can not send a "trainee" as a temporary replacement. Both the B-1 and the H-3 will not allow trainees to take job opportunities, full time or otherwise, away from domestic workers.
- The trainee must not receive any remuneration from the training facility other than incidental expense reimbursement for lodging, meals and other travel expenses. The trainee must be paid by the foreign company and the disbursement of the wages must occur in the country of origin.
- The training program has to be defined, not be available in the foreign worker's country, have a finite end date and be less than a year long.
- The training received will benefit the employee in pursuing careers outside the United States.
Each of these visas are valid methods to get foreign trainees trained in the US but there are some differences in the benefits and restrictions that can affect the decision to go with one or the other. Here are the major differences.
- The B-1 does not require a petition filed by the employer, the H-3 does. Filing for and getting approval of a petition for a H-3 can add 40 - 50 days to the whole visa issuance process. A B-1 is processed like a visitor or tourist visa and there is no petition required.
- Dependents of B-1 visa holders will have to get there own visas. Dependents of H-3 holders are guaranteed visas. Once in the country neither set of dependents can be employed but the H-3 minor children can attend school without getting a F-1 student visa.
- B-1 visa holders can not apply for a social security number or a driver's license..H-3 can.