In terms of immigration, a trainee is a person who is coming to the United States for the sole purpose of receiving training that is specific to their job. The applicant may already be employed by a foreign firm, or they may be required to attend training for a job that they will obtain upon completion. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has several options available for nonimmigrant trainees who must temporarily come to the United States for training.
The H1-B classification is geared towards temporary nonimmigrants that are coming to the United States to perform or train for specialty occupations that are often part of complex industries. The H-3 classification is designed specifically for nonimmigrant trainees coming to the United States to attend training that is not available in their home country. There are certain cases in which foreign nationals who qualify for either of the previously mentioned visas can be classified as a B-1 applicant. The B-1, Temporary Business Visitor, classification is generally a bit more difficult to obtain as you must be a nonimmigrant that will only remain in the United States for a short-term, or less than six months. There are various factors to consider before applying for any of these visa classifications to avoid being denied or having to wait for an extended period of time.
The H1-B visa classification requires an applicant to have a United States bachelor’s degree, or have the foreign equivalent of this degree. The applicant must prove that he/she is educated and experienced in a specialty occupation. The applicant may also be a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability. Foreign nationals that must come to the United States as trainees can be admitted into the United States for a period of up to 3 years. If the purpose of the applicant’s stay is deemed legitimate then this period can be extended up to 6 years.
There are circumstances when an H1-B applicant may be admitted as a B-1 instead. This occurs when the foreign national will be engaging in activities that would normally require an H1-B visa, and can also present evidence to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent. They must have documentation to prove that they are clearly employed and paid by a foreign firm. If the applicant is a new hire, or will be officially hired once their training in the United States is complete, it may be more difficult to verify employment during the interview with the consular officer. The B-1 visa only allows applicants to be admitted for a short period of time, and applicants will not be able to apply for an extension of time in the United States.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requires that foreign nationals applying for an H-3, Nonimmigrant Trainee, visa classification demonstrate that the proposed training will not be available in their own country. The beneficiary must not be placed in a position that will require them to take part in the normal operation of the business or occupation, as they are being admitted strictly to train. Most importantly the training must benefit the applicant when pursuing their career in their own country. Training may be focused on any particular field including, agriculture, commerce, finance, and more. The H-3 visa classification approval may allow a trainee to stay in the United States for up to 2 years. However, the applicant must not receive any salary or other income from a U.S. source, with the exception of expense allowances or travel expense.
There are certain cases in which a B-1 visa classification may be granted in lieu of an H-3 visa classification. In order to qualify for a B-1 classification the applicant must meet all the requirements of an H-3 trainee. They must have the ability to prove that they are here solely for the purpose of training, and will be using the skills they learn to pursue their career in their own country. During the consular interview, the foreign national must be able to prove to the officer that they are receiving no salary from a U.S. source, and that the source of their salary is actually located abroad. The petitioner, or foreign firm, must also provide evidence that it has an office abroad and that it disburses payroll from this location.
To conclude, when petitioning for a foreign employee it is best to review all options, this will save both time and money. The B-1 visa classification for trainees may be an excellent option if the intending immigrant meets the requirements for either the H-1B or H-3 classifications. However, it is difficult to prove the legitimacy of training programs and you must have thorough evidence during the consular interview. The period of stay is a very important factor to take into account as the B-1 visa is usually only approved for the duration of 6 months. Please note that there are additional visa options for trainees such as the J1 visa. It is recommended to seek legal counsel when applying to any business visa.