The H2B visa is available to employers of foreign workers not working in the agricultural field. This visa is only available under the following conditions:
- Recurring seasonal need
- Intermittent need
- Peak-load need
- One time occurrence
The employer must also prove that there are no unemployed US workers willing or able to do the work. This is established through the state's employment agency using a labor certification process. This process requires a recruitment campaign, including advertising in a local newspaper for available temporary workers.
The duration of this visa is limited to the employer's need for temporary workers. The maximum authorized period is one year. However, the employer may extend the duration of the visa for up to three years.
In order to be considered as a nonimmigrant under the above classifications, the prospective employer must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once approved, the employer is sent a notice of approval, Form I-797.
If the prospective worker is outside of the US, he must then apply for a visa with the US Consulate.
The H-2B visa application requirements include:
- DS-156, Application for Nonimmigrant Visa
- DS-157, (Males 15-49)
- Copy of Notice of Approval of H-2B Petition
- One passport-style photo
- Evidence of ties to the home country.
If the prospective worker is already in the US and is changing from one nonimmigrant status to another, a visa is not required. However, if the worker leaves the US and wants to re-enter, they may need a visa.
Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The officer at the port of entry has authority to deny admission, even if the applicant has a visa. Also, the officer at the port of entry, not the consular officer, determines the period for which the bearer of a temporary work visa is authorized to remain in the United States. At the port of entry, officials issue Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which notes the length of stay permitted. The decision to grant or deny a request for extension of stay, however, is made solely by the USCIS.
Petitions should be filed no more than six months before the proposed employment will begin. However, they should be submitted at least 45 days before the employment will begin, because the petition processing and visa issuance may not be completed before work is to begin.
Spouses of H-2B visa holder or an unmarried child under 21 years of age of H-2B visa holder are issued an H-4 visa. They may remain in the US as long as the authorized stay of the H-2Avisa holder. H-4 visa holders are not permitted to work in the US.
More information can be found at the following links:
For International Job Seekers, click here.
For How to file for a Work Visa, click here.
For Visa Information for Temporary Visitors, click here.
To find information on J & Q Visas, click here.
To apply for a J-1 Visa, click here.
To visit the U.S. Immigration Support webpage, click here.
To visit the U.S. Department of State webpage, click here.