Who is it for: The H-2B is also known as a Temporary Non-agricultural Worker visa. It is limited to foreign nationals to come to America to perform temporary or seasonal non-agricultural work. Only workers from certain countries are eligible to be approved for an H-2B visa.
Effective January 18, 2016, those countries include:
|Costa Rica||Israel||Papua New Guinea||Tonga|
|Czech Republic||Jamaica||The Philippines||Tuvalu|
|Dominican Republic||Kiribati||Portugal||United Kingdom|
To qualify applicants under the H-2B classification, a petitioner (employer) must prove that there are not enough workers in the United States who are willing, able and available to do the temporary work.
Check Your Eligibility
The petitioner’s need is considered temporary if it meets one of the following criteria:
- One-time occurrence – this type of employment need has not happened in the past or some situation has created the need for temporary help.
- Seasonal need – the petitioner must show that the temporary help is needed due to a traditional season, event or pattern (i.e. Christmas) that is reoccurring.
- Peakload need – the petitioner can prove that there is a temporary need to supplement full-time permanent workers due to a short-term demand
- Intermittent need – the petitioner must show they occasionally need temporary workers to perform duties for short periods of time.
Immigrant or Non-immigrant visa: Nonimmigrant visa
Duration: The duration of H-2B visas will vary and will be noted on the temporary labor certification issued to applicants by the Department of Labor. Extensions may be granted in one-year increments.
The maximum time granted for H-2B visas is three years. Once that three-year period has been reached, H-2B visa holders must leave the United States for a minimum of three months before they can reapply under the H-2B visa program.
Details: There is a cap on the total number of workers who can be admitted to the United States under an H-2B visa. That limit is 66,000 workers per year, with half of that amount who can begin work during the first part of the U.S. government fiscal year from October 1 to March 31, and the other half who can begin work the second half of the fiscal year, from April 1 to September 30.
Check Your Eligibility
An H-2B worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old can be admitted under the H-2B program with an H-4 classification. They are not eligible to work in the United States under this status.
To apply: Before H-2B visas can be awarded to applicants, a petitioner (employer) must submit a Labor Certification Application to the Department of Labor. The petitioner will receive a certification from the Department of Labor in return and then the petitioner must submit a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129 to United States Customs and Immigration Services.
Once approved, prospective workers can apply for an H-2B visa at an embassy or consulate in their native country. Once the visa has been granted, the worker will seek actual admission with U.S. Customs and Border Protection into the United States at a U.S. port of entry.
For more information: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has a comprehensive H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers page.